Sep 21, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Top GOP recruit David McCormick launches Pennsylvania Senate campaign

Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Republican David McCormick — a former hedge fund CEO and the runner-up in last year's Pennsylvania Senate primary — is launching a second campaign, making it clear he plans to run against President Biden as much as incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.).

Driving the news: McCormick took aim at Biden in his official campaign announcement Thursday evening, while accusing Casey of being the president's "rubber stamp."

  • "Due to the failed leadership of Joe Biden, America is in decline: economically, militarily, spiritually," he said.
  • "I'm here to tell you tonight that we can change that — with your support, a brighter future lies ahead."

Why it matters: The Pennsylvania Senate race in 2024 will be among the most expensive — and consequential — in the country, with control of the Senate potentially at stake.

  • McCormick has lined up endorsements from the entire Pennsylvania GOP congressional delegation, which could help him avoid a brutal primary to face the Democratic incumbent.
  • McCormick lost in last year's primary to Trump-backed candidate Mehmet Oz in a brass-knuckle fight that divided the party. Oz lost in the general to John Fetterman (D-Pa.).

What they're saying: McCormick's announcement was accompanied by a strong statement for support from Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

  • "A graduate of West Point, combat veteran and Pennsylvania job creator, Dave is exactly the type of candidate who can win both a primary and a general election in one of the most competitive states in the country," Daines said.
  • "It's great news that Dave is stepping up to serve our country once again."

Between the lines: While short of an official endorsement, Daines' statement is a strong signal that McCormick is the NRSC's preferred candidate.

  • The NRSC also launched a digital ad, with a five-figure buy, suggesting that Casey's family has profited from his time in office.

The big picture: Pennsylvania will be a key battleground in next year's presidential race, with Biden making frequent trips to the state where he grew up.

  • Former President Trump won the state in 2016, but he lost to Biden by more than 80,000 votes in 2020.
  • The McCormick campaign plans to lasso Casey to Biden's record while playing up McCormick's background as a West Point graduate and businessman.
  • "We expect it to be a battleground from here all the way to Election Day," said a McCormick adviser, previewing the campaign's strategy in a call with reporters.

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