The Pennsylvania GOP primaries have already proven to be just about as “train wreck-y” as it gets, but they ain’t over yet. Not only has MAGA radical state Sen. Doug Mastriano won the Republican gubernatorial primary, but the GOP Senate primary is likely headed for a recount, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Trump-endorsed TV huckster Mehmet Oz and hedge fund CEO David McCormick are deadlocked at some 31% of the vote. It's a recount that promises to get very sticky on so many levels.
After both candidates embraced Trump's 2020 lie that the election was stolen from him, they will now be bogged down in days if not weeks of waiting as the very mail-in ballots Republicans pilloried as fraudulent are tallied and maybe even retallied to determine the winner.
But that’s not all. The New York Times reports that McCormick recently hired GOP consultant Mike Roman, who specializes in election challenges and helped Trump push a series of unfounded fraud claims in Pennsylvania. Federal elections records show that McCormick's campaign hired Roman as a consultant on April 21, suggesting his team very much expected a potentially contentious post-election period.
But even as Team McCormick and a former Trump henchman prepped to unload on the election's administration, Trump urged Oz to simply "declare victory" the day after the election.
“It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they ‘just happened to find,’” Trump wrote on his sputtering Truth Social website, taking an early swipe at the remaining mail-in ballots that could flip the race in McCormick's direction.
Whatever the outcome of that hot mess, the open arms of Mastriano await the victor.
Whether it's Oz or McCormick, the GOP Senate nominee will be dogged by Mastriano's every utterance. If either one of them thought they might tone down their right-wing rhetoric on abortion, 2020 election fraud lies, or the Jan. 6 insurrection in order to broaden their appeal in the general election, Mastriano will be there to resurrect the issues anew.
Local reporters will surely take great joy in developing a dialogue between the two high-profile statewide GOP campaigns, playing them off one another. Oz and McCormick both MAGAed it up in the primary to make a play for Trump's endorsement, but Mastriano is an evangelical 2020 truther through and through—he's the genuine article. Moderation isn't in his DNA, which is exactly why he was so appealing to the basest authoritarian instincts of MAGA voters.
Whether the topic du jour is enacting book bans and no-exception abortion bans or advancing 2020 election conspiracy theories, Mastriano will be hungry to dive in with the certainty of a zealot, while the GOP Senate nominee will be left holding the bag.
But only after they are done litigating the mail-in ballots, a likely recount, and a series of potential legal challenges. At that point, the GOP Senate nominee will emerge bruised, battered, and limping along, having won less than a third of the GOP primary vote.
It will be glorious.