It takes two for Dave McCormick on the battlefield of Pennsylvania.
McCormick, a former hedge fund executive, West Point graduate, Gulf War veteran and Treasury Department official in former President George W. Bush’s administration, launched his second consecutive campaign for Senate on Thursday.
His announcement gives national and state Republicans a leading candidate with the ability to self-finance. McCormick had been courted to run against longtime Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. — a race that could ultimately decide whether the GOP regains the Senate majority in 2024.
“I have complete confidence in the people of Pennsylvania,” McCormick said, but he stressed the need for leadership in Washington, DC. “That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for the United States Senate,” McCormick said as he launched his Senate bid at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.
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When asked why he was running for Senate again, McCormick said in an interview with Fox News Digital that “the motivation is the same in the sense that I really feel like the country is going in the wrong direction.” direction”.
“Whether it’s the immigration crisis, whether it’s the economy or record inflation, whether it’s the war on our domestic energy sector, I think it’s necessary to make bringing into public life great leaders who can really make a difference, be independent and try to break the gridlock. Washington, which we are lacking, is the key,” McCormick said.
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And he took aim at Casey, tying the three-term Democratic senator and son of Pennsylvania’s popular former governor, as well as President Biden, whose approval ratings remain well in negative territory.
“Bob Casey has been a senator for 18 years. He’s been in politics for 30 years and really hasn’t accomplished much. He’s endorsed Joe Biden. He’s voted for Joe Biden 98% of the time,” McCormick says. “If I can win this seat, I can really be a positive force in pushing back against Joe Biden’s policies.”
Casey, who served as auditor general and then state treasurer for a decade before winning election to the Senate in 2006, is not expected to face a major challenge for the Democratic nomination.
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McCormick could escape a tight, combustible battle for the GOP Senate nomination in 2024, similar to the one he faced last year. McCormick ended up losing the nomination by a slim margin to famed physician and heart surgeon Mehmet Oz, who scored a primary victory thanks to a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Oz ended up losing last November’s general election to now-Democratic Sen. John Fetterman.
Asked about lessons learned from his first campaign, McCormick noted in his Fox News interview that he entered the race “a lot earlier this time.”
“When you lose by 900 votes, you can learn a lot of lessons. So I tried to learn everything that came out of this last race and despite losing, it was a great experience,” he stressed . “The most important thing is to go out and be authentic.”
McCormick immediately received praise from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), the campaign arm of the Senate GOP.
“Dave McCormick has done an outstanding job unifying the grassroots in Pennsylvania. A West Point graduate, veteran, and job creator in Pennsylvania, 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. It’s great news that Dave is stepping up to serve our country again. NRSC President Steve Daines wrote in a statement shared with Fox News.
A race between Casey and McCormick could end up being one of the most expensive and closely watched Senate elections in the country next year, as Democrats defend their fragile 51-49 majority.
Republicans need a net gain of one or two seats in 2024 to win back the majority — depending on which party controls the White House after next year’s presidential election.
The math and the map are in favor of the Republican Party, as Democrats are defending 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs, including three in red states and a handful in key general election battlegrounds like Pennsylvania.
McCormick will likely be attacked again – like he and Oz last year – over the residency.
Oz has been repeatedly criticized for moving to Pennsylvania after living for decades in neighboring New Jersey. And McCormick, who grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania and is the son of the first chancellor of Keystone State’s state university system, was attacked for owning a home in a wealthy part of Connecticut and even bought a house in Pittsburgh ahead of his 2022 Senate campaign.
“The real David McCormick is a megamillionaire hedge fund executive from Connecticut who lies about living in Pennsylvania,” Pennsylvania Democrats charged in a statement.
McCormick told Fox News that he was born and raised in Pennsylvania, lived there most of his life and ran a business in the state. “But like many Pennsylvanians, I’m divorced and remarried. My youngest daughter is finishing high school in Connecticut – she lives with her mother – and I’m going to go to Connecticut to see my daughter and be a great father.” he said.
Attacks on his ties to Connecticut are a distraction, McCormick said.
Democrats also criticize McCormick on the hot-button issue of abortion.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade last year, abortion restrictions returned in every state, making it a major election issue.
Republicans have taken a defensive role as Democrats point to polling that shows most Americans support at least some form of abortion access.
“Dave McCormick wants to ban abortion, even in cases of rape or incest,” the Senate Majority PAC – the main super PAC supporting Senate Democrats – said in a statement hours before his campaign launch. THURSDAY.
But McCormick told Fox News that “my position has not changed. I am pro-life.” And he reiterated that “any limits on it (abortion) should be exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. That’s what I always said throughout the campaign ( last year). This position has therefore not changed.
Asked about a 15-week federal ban supported by some congressional Republicans and some Republican presidential candidates, McCormick responded, “I don’t support a national ban on abortion.”
“It’s also an issue where I think we need to be very compassionate and seek common ground. Certainly, we can – and most Pennsylvanians and most Americans agree that we should use the contraception and that we have reasonable limits on late-term abortion. And that is a position of compassion and a position of consensus. And that is the position that I support,” he stressed.
And he asserted that “Bob Casey cannot name a limit on abortion that he would support, even at eight or nine months.” So, Bob Casey and the Democrats support late-term abortions…I think that’s how I’m going to talk about it. in the electoral campaign.”
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During last year’s primaries, Trump repeatedly criticized McCormick as a “liberal Wall Street Republican” while campaigning for Oz.
But if Trump secures the GOP nomination, both the former president and McCormick would be at the top of the GOP ticket in Pennsylvania.
“It’s publicly documented that we’ve had disagreements,” McCormick said of his relationship with Trump. “There’s no doubt about it. We have different styles.”
“But there are a lot of things that I said in the last campaign and in this campaign about President Trump’s policies that I think were great for the country, great for America,” he said. he added. “The country is going in a terrible direction since Biden has been in office and that’s the case I’m going to make and I think a lot of the things that President Trump was advocating for and putting in place were leading us in the right direction.”
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