By Jarrett Renshaw and Costas Pitas
(Reuters) -Former hedge fund executive David McCormick conceded to wellness celebrity Mehmet Oz on Friday in the Republican primary race for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, following a recount and securing another Donald Trump-endorsed candidate in a critical midterm election.
Oz, who will square off against Democrat John Fetterman in the Nov. 8 midterm election to replace retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey, won by a margin of 916 votes, according to Edison Research.
The race is crucial to Republican hopes of regaining control of a Senate now narrowly held by President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats.
“I will do my part to try to unite Republicans and Pennsylvanians behind his candidacy, behind his nomination for the Senate,” McCormick said in conceding to Oz.
Oz secured 419,643 votes versus 418,727 for McCormick, according to Edison Research.
Trump has endorsed over 190 candidates in the midterm contests, trying to solidify his status as the Republican Party kingmaker. His picks have not always prevailed.
Trump endorsed Oz in April, after his previous pick in the race dropped out when his estranged wife alleged physical abuse and he lost a battle over custody of his children.
Oz and McCormick both positioned themselves as champions of Trump’s populist “America First” agenda.
“I look forward to campaigning in every corner of the Commonwealth for the next five months to earn the support of every Pennsylvanian,” Oz said on Friday.
Republicans are seeking to regain control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate in November. They are well positioned to regain control of the House, which could enable them to stonewall Biden’s legislative agenda.
Democrats have a better chance of keeping their razor-thin Senate majority, but to do so will need to perform well in races including in Pennsylvania.
Fetterman, the state’s current lieutenant governor, said on Friday that he “almost died” from a stroke suffered days before the May 17 primary and which has kept him off the campaign trail, indicating that his condition was graver than initially suggested.
“I’m not quite back to 100% yet, but I’m getting closer every day,” he said.
(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw in Washington and Costas Pitas in Los Angeles; Editing by Eric Beech, David Gregorio and Leslie Adler)