Dr. Mehmet Oz declared himself the “presumptive” winner of the Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary on Friday, even though he leads by less than 1,000 votes and a recount is looming.
The celebrity heart doctor claimed victory in the still too-close-to-call race against hedge fund titan David McCormick.
“I am blessed to have earned the presumptive Republican nominee for the United States Senate,” Oz said in a campaign ad-style video.
Oz hinted at the difficult fight he had to overcome conservative misgivings despite winning the endorsement of former President Trump.
“This was a tough campaign, I traveled everywhere,” he said. “You guys were pretty honest sharing with me your thoughts, worries you had, you don’t feel like you’re being heard.”
In his video, the physician portrayed himself as a champion of everyday working people, striding through the streets of an unidentified town and greeting people.
He offered a message of unity even as he hammered at perceived failings of President Biden like inflation and the shortage of infant formula.
“We need to pull people together again,” Oz said. “I’m going to make that happen.”
McCormick’s campaign rejected Oz’s claim of victory. “Presumptive is right,” a spokesman told Politico.
The announcement came a day after Pennsylvania officials declared the race would undergo a recount because the margin of victory was less than .5%.
Counties have until next Wednesday to tabulate the final vote totals.
The eventual GOP winner will face Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in November general election to replace two-term Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who is retiring.
Fetterman suffered a stroke several days before Election Day but romped to victory and has quickly consolidated Democratic support.
The Keystone State race is considered Democrats’ best chance to flip a Senate seat as they seek to hold onto Congress.