HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Republican David McCormick is expected to announce his second bid for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, according to people familiar with his plans, taking on Democratic Sen. Bob Casey after narrowly losing an expensive and bruising GOP primary last year to a Donald Trump-endorsed rival.
McCormick, 58, has strong support from the party establishment. With his deep pockets as a former hedge fund CEO, Republicans believe he will mount a strong challenge to the three-term Casey in a state that is critical to control of the White House and the Senate.
He has begun telling people of his intention to run and is expected to announce his candidacy next week, according to three people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to avoid disclosing private conversations.
McCormick’s impending candidacy is a huge win for Republicans, who had heavily recruited him to run again after he sought the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey last year. McCormick lost to celebrity heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz in the primary by just 950 votes, and Oz went on to lose to Democrat John Fetterman in the general election, costing the GOP a seat in a critical presidential battleground state.
McCormick has floated the possibility that he would run almost since the moment he lost last year’s Senate GOP primary, and he has consolidated support by showing up at local party events and raising money for Republican candidates.
He has stayed in the public eye by making the rounds of conservative podcasts on a publicity tour for a book he published in March.
Republicans acknowledge that beating Casey will be difficult.
Casey, 63, is a stalwart of Pennsylvania’s Democratic politics, the son of a former two-term governor and the longest-ever serving Democrat in the Senate from Pennsylvania. He has won all of his Senate elections by at least 9 percentage points, and the last full fundraising quarter was his best ever.
The Democratic Party has treated McCormick as the de facto GOP nominee for months, attacking his record in business, his opposition to abortion rights and indications that he still lives on Connecticut’s ritzy “Gold Coast," where he spent a dozen years as an executive at the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates.
McCormick insists he lives in Pittsburgh, in a house he bought there in early 2022 and has stressed his hometown roots in Pennsylvania, including growing up on a Christmas tree farm near Bloomsburg that he still owns.
So far, McCormick has a clear GOP primary field and Republican Party brass is solidly behind McCormick.
McCormick has drawn pledges of support from two major Senate GOP donor committees — the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC linked to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — even in a primary.
In recent days, a McCormick ally has been circulating a letter of support for McCormick featuring a who’s-who of party brass, including the state party chair, the party’s two national committee representatives and 36 of 67 county party chairs.
A Sept. 30 state party meeting is approaching, and GOP circles are alive with talk that McCormick will seek an endorsement vote there.
McCormick boasts a resume that spans from the military to the highest levels of government to business.
The son of Pennsylvania's first state university system chancellor, McCormick graduated from West Point, won a Bronze Star for his service in the Gulf War, got a doctorate from Princeton University, served in senior positions in former President George W. Bush’s administration and reached Wall Street celebrity as CEO of Bridgewater.
He ran last year amid carpetbaggery cries as one of three wealthy, connected Republican candidates — including Oz, the heart surgeon best-known as the host of daytime TV’s now-ended “The Dr. Oz Show” — who moved from blue states to run in swing-state Pennsylvania.
Ultimately, McCormick lost the primary after spending $14 million of his own money on the race. McCormick has reported assets of over $100 million, and could again spend heavily on the 2024 next race.
Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/timelywriter.