In-person voting propels Mastriano to GOP nod in Pa. governor's race, helps Oz to slight edge

State Sen. Doug Mastriano's supporters turned out, giving the candidate 43% of the vote by 10 p.m. on Election Day as more Republicans seek to vote in-person rather than by mail.

Updated: May 19, 2022 - 3:08pm

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In-person voting propelled state Sen. Doug Mastriano to the GOP nomination in the Pennsylvania governor's race on Tuesday and helped celebrity talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz gain a slight edge over former hedge fund CEO David McCormick.

The Pennsylvania primary election provides further confirmation that Republican voters are relying less on mail-in ballots compared to Democrats.

The race between Oz and McCormick was still too close to call as of Wednesday night, with thousands of mail-in ballots still to be counted. Oz, who was endorsed by former President Trump in late April, was clinging to a razor-thin lead with 31.3% of the vote compared to 31.1% for McCormick.

The election goes to an automatic recount if the margin is less than 0.5%.

Despite the anticipated automatic recount, Trump is calling on Oz to claim victory in the race.

"Dr. Oz should declare victory," Trump wrote on Truth Social, the social media platform he helped create. "It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they 'just happened to find.'"

Trump endorsed Mastriano less than a week before the election. Mastriano's supporters turned out on Election Day, giving the candidate 43% of the vote by 10 p.m. before mail-in ballots were fully counted. 

More than 900,000 voters requested mail-in ballots ahead of Tuesday's election. The partisan discrepancy in voting by mail has widened since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Pennsylvania election data for Tuesday's primary, 386,314‬ of 788,288 Democratic voters used mail-in ballots to vote for state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is running for governor. By comparison, just 13,383 of 380,798 Mastriano voters cast their ballots by mail.