Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidates clash in court over disputed ballots
David McCormick is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania’ s primary election. - Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the two main candidates for the Republican Senate nomination in Pennsylvania, TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz and businessman David McCormick, clashed in court over whether certain disputed ballots should be counted in the razor-thin primary contest that leaves Oz fewer than a thousand votes ahead.

"Mr. McCormick filed a lawsuit on May 23 that asked the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania to allow county election officials to accept mail-in ballots from voters who turned them in by the May 17 deadline but did not write the date on the outer return envelopes," said the report. "That step is required by a state law, which Republicans have fought to preserve."

"The lawyers asserted that the handwritten dates were immaterial, with Chuck Cooper, Mr. McCormick’s chief legal counsel, saying that they served no other purpose than to disenfranchise otherwise qualified voters and 'play games of gotcha with them,'" said the report. "Even if the disputed ballots were to be counted, there are not enough outstanding votes to change the outcome of the race, John M. Gore, a lawyer for Dr. Oz, argued in court ... Mr. Gore said the court should hold off on ruling on the ballots’ status until after the statewide recount concludes — counties have to complete the process by June 7 and report their results to the state by June 8. The ballots should be set aside, with counties reporting the total number, but not counting the votes, he said."

Oz has already proclaimed himself the winner of the election in a campaign video, after former President Donald Trump, who endorsed him, urged he do so.

Complicating matters further, earlier this month, a federal court ruled that the disputed ballots should be counted in the race. However, today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary stay on counting some of the ballots.

The eventual winner of the Republican primary will go on to face Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who won the nomination decisively earlier this month despite a stroke and cardiovascular issues that have temporarily sidelined him from campaigning.