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The National Committee of the Republican Party is intervening against the lawsuit of David McCormick’s campaign, which is trying to force the counting of absentee ballots without dates at the primaries in the Pennsylvania Senate, as his opponent, well-known heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, leads by a tiny percentage.
An RNC spokesman confirmed reports of Fox News Digital interference on Monday night, insisting the move was not in support of Oz or opposition to McCormick, but rather an attempt to preserve the integrity of the election.
“The RNC is interfering in this lawsuit with the Republic of Pennsylvania because election law must be enforced and changing the rules, if the ballots are already being counted, is hurting the integrity of our election,” RNC chief legal counsel Matt Reimer said in a statement.
“Any of the leading Senate candidates from the Republicans of Pennsylvania will represent Keystone State better than a Democrat, but Pennsylvania law is clear that undated bulletins may not count,” Reimer added. “This is another example of the RNC’s iron commitment to ensuring that the highest standards of transparency and security are met throughout the election process.”
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The Pennsylvania Republican Party also condemned the move. “While the Republican Party of Pennsylvania counts on the support of the Republican Senate candidate from the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, whoever it may be, we are strongly opposed to counting ballots without a date,” the party said in a statement. “Pennsylvania law and our courts have been very clear that ballots without dates are not counted.”
McCormick’s company filed a lawsuit in a Pennsylvania court during non-business hours Monday to make sure the counties obey a federal appeals court’s request that the Commonwealth Court require counties to immediately count ballots for voting by return. envelope.
In the lawsuit, McCormick’s company claimed that at least two counties – Blair and Allegheny – had suggested they would not count the ballots as part of their unofficial result, which each county must report to the state on Tuesday.
As of 6 p.m. Monday, Oz, approved by former President Donald Trump, led McCormick with 992 votes (0.07%) out of 1,341,037 ballots. The race is probably close enough to trigger the Pennsylvania Automatic Counting Act, which operates within a 0.5% margin.
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The number of ballots for mail by hand without a handwritten note remains unclear. While McCormick, a former hedge fund CEO and former George W. Bush administration official, is lagging behind in the overall vote, he was ahead of Oz in the postal vote.
McCormick said “every Republican vote should count” on Monday at a conservative talk show in Philadelphia.
“I believe that we, as Republicans, must have the preconditions that all Republican votes count, and that is what we all, I think, adhere to as a principle,” McCormick said. “And this is the principle we follow here. We followed this principle before this court decision. This court decision only shed more light on it.”
The company’s lawsuit is based on a ruling by the U.S. District Court of Appeals on Friday, which ruled that the state’s request for an election date next to the voter’s signature on the outside of the back envelopes was “irrelevant.”
Casey Contress, head of Oz, condemned McCormick’s legal team in a statement Saturday.
Contres noted that McCormick “probably won’t,” and argued that “McCormick’s legal team is sticking to the Democrats’ compilation, a tactic that could have long-term detrimental effects on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania election.”
“Dr. Mehmet Oz continues to respect the counting process in Pennsylvania and believes in the Republican voters who we believe have chosen him as their candidate,” Contress added. “That’s why our campaign will oppose the McCormick Law Team’s demand that election commissions ignore both the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the state election law and accept ballots rejected by law.”
Democrat lawyer Mark Elias, who represented Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 and who pushed several states against voter identification laws, seemed to be defending McCormick’s case.
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“My team was literally working on the same groove in the November election,” Elias said on Twitter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.