No winner has been called as John Fetterman holds a roughly 1 point lead over Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz in the Tuesday midterm election.
The candidates remain in a near dead heat as Fetterman has secured about 49.4% of the vote compared to Oz’s 48.2% with 83% of counties reporting. Results appear to have slowed as Election Night drew on with further results expected in the next couple days.
Oz has not addressed his supporters though asked reporters to leave his campaign’s victory party, according to CBS.
Daily News | Will it be John Fetterman or Mehmet Oz? Pennsylvania’s Senate results are still unclear. https://t.co/OUuJPSplql
— Philly Daily News (@PhillyDailyNews) November 9, 2022
On Monday, a memo was released by Fetterman’s campaign preemptively warning voters of delays in election results citing mail-in ballots which cannot legally be counted until Election Day.
“Buckle up for a long week. This race is close, and we should all be prepared for a process that takes several days before all eligible votes are properly counted and the results are clear,” read the memo.
Later Monday evening, Fetterman’s campaign sued Pennsylvania election officials over mail-in ballots following last week’s ruling by the state’s Supreme Court ordering ballots with incorrect or missing dates to not be counted following a lawsuit from the Republican National Campaign.
“The Pennsylvania county boards of elections are hereby ORDERED to refrain from counting any absentee and mail-in ballots received for the November 8, 2022 general election that are contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes,” reads the ruling. “We hereby direct that the Pennsylvania county boards of elections segregate and preserve any ballots contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes.”
“Every county is expected to include undated ballots in their official returns for the Nov. 8 election, consistent with the Department of State’s guidance,” read a statement from acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman released shortly after the ruling. “That guidance followed the most recent ruling of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court holding that both Pennsylvania and federal law prohibit excluding legal votes because the voter omitted an irrelevant date on the ballot return envelope.”
“The date [requirement] imposes unnecessary hurdles that eligible Pennsylvanians must clear to exercise their most fundamental right, resulting in otherwise valid votes being arbitrarily rejected without any reciprocal benefit to the Commonwealth,” reads Fetterman’s lawsuit, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Rejecting ballots because of the date requirement also violates the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment.” Under the latter, the Democrats argue, “a state cannot utilize election practices that unduly burden the right to vote.”
While Fetterman maintained a lead over Oz throughout the course of their campaigns, the former TV host began leading over the Lieutenant Governor following Fetterman’s performance in their Oct. 25 debate. The Lieutenant Governor appeared to struggle through responses to the moderator’s questions — at one point appearing unable to decipher if he supported the practice of fracking. Other responses, which were difficult to understand, led to Fetterman’s campaign blaming closed captioning used throughout the debate.