Dave McCormick Poised to Mount Another Senate Run

Pennsylvania GOP Senate Candidate Dave McCormick speaks during a rally on May 16, 2022. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Former hedge fund CEO and 2022 Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Dave McCormick continues to signal he’s seriously considering another Senate run in 2024, this time against three-term Democratic Sen. Bob Casey. Now he’s getting encouragement from other elected Republicans.

“He’s an outstanding person. He was a great campaigner,” GOP Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania said in a brief  interview in the U.S. Capitol last week. “He’s just tremendous. So a lot of people are encouraging him to run.”

“He’s doing all the right things laying the groundwork for a potential run,” GOP Rep. Lloyd Smucker of Pennsylvania told The Dispatch. If and when he announces, Smucker added, “he’ll be a great candidate.”

McCormick has spent recent weeks glad-handing with influential Republicans in Washington, D.C., sitting for interviews to promote his new book, and launching a new political action committee aimed at helping the Pennsylvania GOP close Democrats’ mail-in voting gap and boosting Republican candidates for state office. Later this week, he’ll be a featured speaker at the conservative Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in Harrisburg alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

McCormick spoke to a crowd of well-connected Republican politicos gathered in Washington, D.C., Wednesday evening to celebrate the launch of his new book. His intent to remain politically relevant is clear in ​​Superpower in Peril: A Battle Plan to Renew America, in which the Iraq veteran, former George W. Bush Treasury official, and former CEO of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates lays out a conservative policy vision and recounts what he learned on the 2022 campaign trail, when he lost the GOP Senate nomination to Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz by roughly 1,000 votes. 

McCormick told the group of Republicans gathered in a reception room in the Kennedy Center—Rep. Meuser of Pennsylvania,  Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and Sen. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee among them—that he started writing his book “long before” he decided to run for the Senate in 2022. 

There’s still no guarantee McCormick will run again in 2024, when Republicans are hoping to reclaim Pennsylvania as a battleground after last year’s disastrous performance last cycle there: Oz and state Sen. Doug Mastriano—another Trump endorsee who ran for governor—lost handily to Democrats by 5 and 15 points, respectively. 

With those midterm losses still top of mind, the question is whether McCormick has enough on-the-ground support and cross-party appeal to win statewide, let alone the GOP nomination. 

After all, McCormick could face stiff primary competition in Mastriano, who still boasts a large grassroots following even after losing to Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro by double digits. Mastriano recently told Politico he’s considering challenging Casey in 2024.

Rep. Smucker told The Dispatch that Mastriano’s 15-point general election loss to Democrat Josh Shapiro is a “huge liability” that hangs over the state senator’s lingering political ambitions. To win support from Pennsylvania Republicans, Smucker said, Mastriano would have to somehow make the case that “something’s changed” after last cycle, when he made clear he wasn’t interested in fundraising or pivoting to a general election strategy.

“So far, I don’t think he’s done that,” Smucker said.

Pennsylvania Republicans still feel the aftershock of the state party’s decision not to endorse gubernatorial or Senate nominees in the 2022 midterm elections, let alone exert behind-the-scenes pressure on low-polling candidates to drop out of the race. Instead, the state party’s hands-off approach left the GOP with weak general election candidates who struggled to appeal to independent and suburban voters.

Pennsylvania’s former state GOP Chairman Rob Gleason said he doubts the state party will make the same mistake this time around. Last month, the state party voted to endorse in the Republican primary for this year’s open state Supreme Court seat, an early sign that the party will vote to endorse in the 2024 Republican Senate primary.

Gleason, who chaired the Pennsylvania’s Republican Party from 2006 to 2017 and was recently appointed to the state committee, said he’s optimistic the party will rally behind McCormick as its preferred nominee, if and when he announces: “He’s our most electable candidate.”

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