Trump-backed doctor in cliffhanger race for Pennsylvania senate nomination

Controversial congressman Madison Cawthorn defeated in primary election

Pennsylvania's hotly contested US senate Republican primary between Donald Trump-backed TV personality Dr Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund executive David McCormick was still undecided on Wednesday night.

Both of the leading candidates in the contest for the Republican Party nomination to run for the seat in elections in November have claimed they will ultimately win when all the votes are counted.

Under Pennsylvania law, any margin of 0.5 per cent or less triggers an automatic recount. A McCormick adviser said on Wednesday that tens of thousands of postal ballots remain uncounted. "I don't see any scenario, at this point, that a recount is not triggered," the adviser said.

In a speech on Tuesday night, Mr Oz, who is best known for his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, publicly thanked former president Mr Trump as well as right-wing TV host Sean Hannity for their support.

A third Republican candidate for the senate nomination in Pennsylvania, Kathy Barnette, who has a history of right-wing rhetoric, was a distant third. Observers believed that she had taken votes away from Mr Oz.

On the Democratic side in Pennsylvania current lieutenant governor John Fetterman, who had a pacemaker implanted on Tuesday after suffering a stroke last week, won his party's nomination to run for senate in November.

Doug Mastriano, a central figure in Mr Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania, won the contest to run for the Republican Party in the election for governor in the state in November.

A retired army colonel and two-term state senator, Mr Mastriano has emerged a leading right-wing figure in Pennsylvania.

He was present outside the US Capitol in Washington when Trump supporters attacked it on January 6th, 2021.

During his run for governor, he barred the news media from attending his campaign events and has appeared with proponents of the QAnon conspiracy theory. He also said he would pursue a statewide abortion ban after a leaked draft opinion showed the US supreme court is poised to overturn its landmark 1973 decision legalising terminations across the country.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Mastriano proposed a public registry of people who had tested positive for the virus, but he later campaigned against mask-wearing and vaccines.

He will face Democratic attorney general Josh Shapiro in the governor’s race.

North Carolina

Separately, in North Carolina controversial Republican first-term congressman Madison Cawthorn lost out in an attempt to run for the party again in November.

Republican party senior figures had turned against him on foot of a string of controversies in recent months.

Mr Cawthorn is the youngest member of the US Congress. However, a nude video that claimed he was invited to a cocaine-fuelled Washington orgy by senior Republicans, two attempts to carry a gun on to an airplane and calling Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy a thug in the midst of a Russian invasion led to many party establishment figures in North Carolina campaigning to oust him.

However, Mr Trump had urged his supporters to give Mr Cawthorn “a second chance”.

Also in North Carolina Ted Budd, a candidate backed by Mr Trump, edged out 14 rivals in the contest for the Republican nomination to run for the senate in November.

– Additional reporting: Reuters