PITTSBURGH — A full week after Pennsylvania Republican primary voters cast their ballots, no one knows yet who won the contest. The unresolved matter has led to lawsuits, with former President Donald Trump telling his preferred candidate to declare victory. Supporters on both sides are frustrated, and a valuable nomination for Republicans hangs in the balance. Some even wonder whether this family feud might cost them a very winnable seat.

Then again, if they are smart, it could help them gain a seat in 2024.

Senate candidate David McCormick chats with a valet at the Hotel Indigo during his campaign watch party. (Shannon Venditti for the Washington Examiner)

It all depends on whether David McCormick or Dr. Mehmet Oz, the two rivals battling it out for the final votes, decide to end their campaign once all of the ballots are in if they find themselves behind the other. The loser should then ask the victor's help in becoming the new chairman of the state party after November's election.

Why would they do that? First, why not? When you put your reputation and your name on a ballot and run a grueling campaign, spending days and weeks away from your family, it is difficult to call it quits after falling just a few hundred votes short.

However, the loser of this race should see himself as the architect of a long-term plan to rebuild the shell of a once-powerful state party. The candidate who falls short this year should take the reins, raise the money, and bring Pennsylvania's GOP back to the prestige it once held. If successful, the loser of this race will have put himself in a position to make a credible run against Sen. Bob Casey in 2024.

One of the biggest liabilities for both men in this race was that neither had a natural base within the state to hold himself up when the negative ads hit. Either man would benefit from such a thing, and either one as chairman could build the relationships needed. This would also benefit the party as a whole as it prepares for the 2024 presidential elections.

Democratic strategist Mike Mikus, who admits he is not in the habit of giving Republicans advice that doesn’t trip them up, says that path would make them formidable: “If history is any indicator with the pattern of wave elections we have had since 2006, both this year and probably 2024 aren’t looking all that great for Democrats,” he said. Democrats did really well in the 2006 midterm elections and the presidential race in 2008. Likewise, Republicans won the 2014 midterm elections and capped that win with a 2016 presidential victory.

“Then, the pendulum swung back in our favor in 2018 and 2020,” Mikus said. Since neither party tends to learn any lessons, he said, conditions will likely favor the Republicans in 2022 and 2024.

He’s not wrong — even before President Joe Biden’s approval plunged last August, history was always against the Democrats holding their majorities this fall.

Keystone College professor and political scientist Jeff Brauer warns that if they don’t get it together, “the protracted schism between the GOP candidates is only going to benefit the Democrats a‎nd their candidate, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. The longer this drags on, the less time the eventual winner will have to pivot to the general election and, more importantly, the less likely the party will truly unite under the winner."

Brauer said the bad blood this creates makes it less likely the loser's supporters will fully get onboard for the general election. He added that Republicans should take a lesson from Georgia's runoff election in January 2021 — about just how toxic it can be to question election results. Many Republican primary voters, inspired by Trump’s rhetoric that the election was rigged, just didn’t show up to vote in the runoff.

The question now in Pennsylvania is whether both men are willing to be that guy. To date, both campaigns are declining comment. It could be just the ticket to make Pennsylvania great again for Republicans.