McCormick avoids nasty GOP primary in Pennsylvania's Senate race
Republican David McCormick is on the verge of clinching the GOP nomination for one of the most competitive Senate races in the 2024 cycle, with a Tuesday filing deadline in Pennsylvania and no challengers in sight.
Why it matters: McCormick's challenge to Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is expected to be one of the most expensive and competitive races this year — in a swing state that could determine control of the Senate and the presidency.
- McCormick, a former hedge fund CEO, was the runner-up in 2022's Senate GOP primary in Pennsylvania, losing to Trump-backed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz.
- The brutal primary left Oz bloodied for the general election. He lost to now-Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who faced questions about his fitness for office after suffering a stroke.
Driving the news: Pennsylvania's candidate filing deadline closes at 5pm ET on Tuesday. With no serious challengers jumping in, McCormick will avoid a potentially nasty primary.
- Brandi Tomasetti launched a last minute effort to challenge, but it is unclear if she will have the needed signatures.
- The early deadline launches Casey and McCormick into an early head-to-head matchup, while GOP challengers fight it out in primaries in other target states such as Arizona, Montana and Ohio.
- Former President Trump in 2016 became the first Republican presidential candidate to win Pennsylvania in 28 years, but Biden narrowly won it back in 2020.
- "I'm humbled and grateful to have the support of Pennsylvania Republicans in this fight," McCormick told Axios in a statement, vowing to "beat Bob Casey and stop his unconditional support of Joe Biden's failed immigration, crime, and economic policies."
What to watch: McCormick's campaign plans to hit Casey on the border — a top issue for Republicans this year — to try to close the polling gap.
- 29% of Pennsylvanian voters listed border security in their top two priorities for a senator — second only to inflation at 37%, according to internal GOP polling from late January provided to Axios.
- But Casey is also going on offense on the issue, after McCormick said he opposed the restrictive bipartisan border deal that met a quick death in the Senate.
- "My opponent, Mr. McCormick, came out against the bill. So he came out four-square against the best solution to the border crisis in 25 years. I don't know how you can have that position, but he does," Casey told CNN.
The big picture: McCormick's clear path to the general ballot for the Senate seat comes as new campaign announcements shake up key races elsewhere.
- Hardliner Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) will now primary Tim Sheehy to oust Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). Sheehy is already backed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
- Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a popular Republican, is putting the blue state in play with his last-minute bid for the seat held by Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, who is retiring. Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) and Angela Alsobrooks are the Democrats facing off in the Maryland primary.