McCormick jumps into Senate race — and faces his ‘Welcome to Pennsylvania’ problem

Control of the Senate hinged on McCormick’s ability to present himself as a domestic military veteran. A credibility attack he faced in the 2022 run and Democrats successfully armed against eventual Republican nominee Mehmet Oz. Questions about how much time McCormick spends as a wealthy financier on Connecticut’s Gold Coast now begin anew. What was largely unmentioned in his 15-minute announcement speech: his decades-long career on Wall Street, which eventually saw him serve as CEO of one of the world’s most successful hedge funds. However, McCormick’s personal wealth was not without ups and downs. National Republicans saw their ability to run McCormick as a coup because the resources alone would ensure that Democrats would have to spend in the state to protect incumbent Sen. Bob Casey.

Betting is the biggest effect. Outside of their three red-state targets, Pennsylvania offers the GOP the best chance to regain the Senate majority, and Republican leaders have held onto McCormick for months.

Shortly before his first run for the Senate, McCormick sold his home in Fairfield, Conn., and bought a home in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill North neighborhood. But ahead of his much-anticipated second campaign, McCormick faced a new round of questions about his Pennsylvania roots. Associated Press He said that he conducted Virtual interviews from home in Westport, Conn. And he doesn’t claim tax exemption for his Pittsburgh home, which would be classified as his primary residence.

McCormick has been circling Republicans in the state, gaining support and clearing the field. He traveled to the state Capitol in Harrisburg on Monday to meet with the party’s defeated 2022 gubernatorial candidate, Doug Mastriano — who had considered running against Casey. The gamble paid off. In an interview this week, Mastriano sounded like He will support McCormick, calling for the party to unite behind him. None of the other candidates contested.

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But even then, McCormick left himself open to more Connecticut attacks. That same day he met Mastriano. Flight records Show that a plane Co-owned by McCormick 8:28 a.m. Bridgeport, Conn. Even in the days leading up to his debut, It seems McCormick is out of state.

“It’s very damaging — Pennsylvania is nothing more than parochial,” said Rep. Mary Kay Scanlon (D-Pa.). “People don’t go far from where they grew up. They raise their children in the same neighborhood as their families and have very deep roots.

McCormick’s campaign notes that he is a divorced parent and that his daughter still attends school in Connecticut. He is a devoted father who enjoys spending time with his family, according to a campaign strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak out.

His launch event served as a reset to emphasize his local roots. On the fifth floor of the Heinz History Center, which commemorates Pittsburgh’s history, attendees partied through an open bar and platters, while Cellular Sessions, billed as Pennsylvania’s “premier acoustic cover band,” performed covers ranging from Taylor Swift. Portugal. The Man. Supporters thronging the event interrupted their candidate’s speech and chanted “Dave”.

By many standards, McCormick is an impressive candidate. In his first campaign, he started as a little-known businessman and came within 1,000 votes of defeating a popular candidate backed by former President Donald Trump.

But McCormick courting Mastriano to the capital is evidence that he understands the need to boost his credentials with the GOP’s MAGA base. He clashed somewhat with Trump in his 2022 race, and the former president backed Oz, pushing Oz for the nomination only to see him lose the seat in the fall to Democrat John Fetterman.

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McCormick has previously dismissed Trump’s rhetoric and blamed him for the “polarization” and “divisiveness” that has plagued his time in office. In weighing a run against Casey this year, McCormick has been carefully considering whether to share a ticket with Trump, who lost Pennsylvania in 2020 but won it in 2016.

McCormick Associates is working to bridge that gap. Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.), an ardent supporter of Trump, said he was urging the former president that “bygones are bygones.”

“They have to work together,” he said. “I think President Trump, obviously — who I support — needs to do what he can with Dave McCormick so they can both move forward in the same positive direction.”

McCormick also has the endorsement of party leaders, including Senate GOP campaign chairman Steve Daines, who is close to Trump and often consults with him on the Senate map. The National Republican Senatorial Caucus has sought to field candidates who appeal to a wide swath of voters after a cycle in which Trump-backed candidates lost key races.

“Dave is the candidate who can win both the primary and the general election in one of the most competitive states in the country,” Daines said in a statement.

McCormick campaign strategists have stressed that they are trying to build as broad a coalition as possible. And Republicans believe that McCormick’s strength with moderate and independent voters in the suburbs and Trump’s ability to convert rural and working-class voters is a winning combination.

At the start of his campaign, McCormick emphasized his desire to “unify the Republican Party in our great commonwealth” and win over voters “regardless of their party.”

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McCormick graduated from West Point, served in the Bush-era Treasury Department and has had a highly successful career in finance. But in some ways, his resume is one of the old GOP, out of place in today’s iteration of a party that thrives on populism.

Even Republicans agree that ousting Casey won’t be easy. The son of a three-term senator and two-term governor, Casey is a strong fundraiser with lasting strength with white, working-class voters, a key constituency here. He has won almost all of his Senate elections by double digits or more.

“Casey is going to win and win big,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DNY) said in a brief interview the day before McCormick’s inauguration.

Democrats are already working on it. On Thursday night, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party paid for a plane to fly around the Heinz Center.

It read, “Welcome to Pennsylvania, Dave.”

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