David McCormick to announce Pa. Senate run against Bob Casey this week
McCormick is the first Republican to announce a run against Casey, the Democratic incumbent, in a race that could determine control of the Senate.
The Pennsylvania Republican Party appears to be getting its wish this week — former hedge fund manager David McCormick will announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Thursday in Pittsburgh.
That lines up McCormick for a challenge against a potent Pennsylvania political brand, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Scranton Democrat seeking a fourth six-year term.
McCormick, a West Point graduate and former hedge fund CEO who owns a home in Pittsburgh, has been identified by establishment Republicans in the state as their best option against Casey as their party attempts to win back control of the Senate in 2024.
Pennsylvania’s Senate race is expected to be among the most hotly contested in the nation next year, and could determine which party holds a majority in the chamber.
A person familiar with McCormick’s planning, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss this week’s rollout, confirmed McCormick will announce his candidacy Thursday.
McCormick lost a close Republican Senate primary last year to Mehmet Oz, after spending $14.4 million of his own money on the race. Sources close to him have said he’s been cautious about a decision to run again in the wake of that tough primary loss.
No other Republican candidates have announced plans to run for the seat next year.
Casey’s campaign capitalized on the news that McCormick would jump into the race in a fundraising pitch to supporters Friday, citing “a potential GOP opponent who could self-fund and who has been promised super PAC support by Mitch McConnell.”
McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is the Senate’s minority leader. A super PAC linked to McConnell, the Senate Leadership Fund, is expected to back McCormick.
GOP hopes to avoid a repeat of loss to Fetterman
Republicans hope to avoid a repeat of the 2022 crowded primary, which Oz, a doctor well-known for his television show, won.
Both McCormick and Oz were tagged by Republican competitors, and later by Democratic nominee John Fetterman, as carpetbaggers who moved to Pennsylvania to run for the Senate.
Oz lived in New Jersey, while his wife had family ties to the Philadelphia area, where they said they rented a home from his in-laws and bought property. McCormick grew up in Pennsylvania but had been living in Connecticut prior to his Senate run.
Fetterman defeated Oz in the general election by five percentage points.
Residency became an issue again for McCormick in August when The Associated Press reported that he was living in a rented $16 million mansion in Westport, Conn.
McCormick in late March listed that address while making a $5,000 donation to the Great American Pennsylvania Fund, a political action committee chaired by former Pennsylvania Republican Party chair Rob Gleason.
A spokesperson for McCormick said last month he had spent the majority of his life in Pennsylvania and called attacks on his residency “disgraceful.”
Republicans in the state have also been concerned about fielding a candidate who can win both a primary and general election.
Former President Donald Trump in 2022 endorsed Oz for Senate and State Sen. Doug Mastriano for governor. Mastriano lost to Democrat Josh Shapiro by nearly 15 percentage points.
Democrats have already started attacking McCormick
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party has been eagerly mining McCormick’s statements made on the campaign trail and during primary debates in 2022, especially on the issue of abortion.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a ruling one month after that primary, overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion-rights case, allowing states to decide if the procedure should be legal and how it can be regulated. Democrats since then have employed that ruling against Republican candidates.
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party, on the platform previously known as Twitter, in June posted video of McCormick saying during a 2022 debate that he supported abortions “in the very rare case” when the life of the pregnant person was in danger. He did not respond when asked about cases of rape or incest.
McCormick has been acting in every way like a candidate for public office while not officially declaring it. He showed what was seen as interest as a 2024 run shortly after the 2022 general election, meeting with consultants and mingling with party officials at the annual political gathering in New York known as Pennsylvania Society.
Casey provides a significant political challenge. The son of a former governor, Casey easily won reelection in 2018, defeating former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, a Hazleton Republican who had Trump’s backing.