Dave McCormick to Announce Pennsylvania Senate Run in Pittsburgh

Dave McCormick and his wife, Dina Powell McCormick, on May 17, 2022, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

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  • Federal prosecutors on Thursday indicted Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, on federal gun charges, court documents show, a development that could complicate the president’s reelection campaign. The indictment charges Hunter with three felony counts, including lying to a federally licensed gun dealer about his drug use, making false statements about said drug use on a government form, and unlawfully possessing a gun. It follows the collapse of a plea deal this summer between Hunter and federal prosecutors, and comes days after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced he is directing three GOP-led House committees to lead an impeachment inquiry that will investigate whether President Joe Biden favorably influenced or profited off of his son’s foreign business dealings.
  • Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the Republicans’ 2012 presidential nominee who also served one term as Massachusetts governor, announced in a video Wednesday he will not seek reelection in 2024. “At the end of another term I’d be in my mid-eighties; frankly it’s time for a new generation of leaders,” Romney says in the video announcement. He also chastises President Joe Biden and former President Trump for not taking seriously a number of serious threats facing the country, including climate change, rising deficits and debt, entitlement spending, and the rise of Russia and China. Check out this must-read essay from McKay Coppins that paints a lonely picture of Romney’s time in the Senate. 
  • The period for Republicans (and Democrats) to file candidacy papers to run in New Hampshire’s “first in the nation” presidential primary opens October 11 and closes October 27, the state’s top election official, Secretary of State David M. Scanlan, announced this week. The New Hampshire primary will occur sometime early next year.
  • Sen. Tim Scott is up with two new television advertisements in Iowa. The South Carolina Republican trails in primary polls but has shown some promise in the Hawkeye State, whose January 15 caucuses will mark the kickoff of the GOP’s 2024 nominating contest. In one spot, Scott promotes hard work as the key to the American dream; in the second ad, the senator vows to put parents in charge of their children’s education in public schools. 

Dave McCormick to Launch Senate Campaign Next Thursday in Pittsburgh

Ex-Bridgewater CEO Dave McCormick plans to announce a 2024 Republican primary bid for U.S. Senate next Thursday, September 21, in Pittsburgh, two sources familiar with the matter tell The Dispatch. It’s a boon to Senate Republicans who are eager to flip Democrats’ 51-seat majority.

McCormick’s long-anticipated launch comes over a year after he lost the Pennsylvania GOP’s Senate GOP to heart surgeon and Donald Trump-endorsed television celebrity Mehmet Oz by less than 1,000 votes. Oz went on to lose the general election to now-Sen. John Fetterman, a Democrat. 

His formal decision comes as welcome news to Pennsylvania Republicans who are eager to oust three-term Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr., the son of a former two-term governor. The younger Casey won his most recent reelection in 2018 by 13 points.

A spokeswoman for McCormick declined to comment for this story.

McCormick, a Gulf War veteran and former Treasury official who served under George W. Bush’s administration, has spent the past few months hiring staff, traveling the state to promote his book, and staying in touch with Washington Republican circles. He also launched a political action committee aimed at bolstering Republican candidates in local races. He’s expected to pour millions of his own funds into his primary campaign as he did in 2022. 

And he’s likely to get a helping hand from billionaire Citadel hedge fund founder Ken Griffin, who gave millions to the pro-McCormick super PAC, Honor Pennsylvania, in 2022. Griffin is encouraging McCormick to run again in 2024, sources familiar with the matter tell The Dispatch, and there are open lines of communication between both of their political teams.

Washington-based Republican spending groups are also eagerly awaiting his launch. The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Senate Leadership Fund, a Mitch-McConnell aligned super PAC. NRSC Chairman Steve Daines told deep-pocketed donors at a fundraiser in May to call Dave McCormick and his wife, Dina, personally and urge them to run, Dispatch Politics reported last month. 

Local Republicans are already coalescing behind him. Dispatch Politics obtained a letter that’s being circulated by McCormick ally and Allegheny County Chairman Sam DeMarco urging McCormick to run. The list of signatories includes state GOP Chairman Lawrence Tabas, GOP Reps. Dan Meuser and Mike Kelly, both of Pennsylvania’s RNC committee members, and dozens of GOP county chairs.

The letter marks a concerted effort among Pennsylvania Republicans to consolidate the field after a disappointing 2022 midterm cycle, when the state party apparatus came under fire for not endorsing Senate and gubernatorial candidates. The party ended up with weak general election candidates who failed to appeal to suburban and independent voters. They lost handily to their Democratic opponents in the general election. 

But beating Casey won’t be easy. If McCormick wins the Republican Senate nomination, it’s likely he’ll run on the same ticket as former President Donald Trump, who lost Pennsylvania to Joe Biden in 2020 and opted last cycle to endorse Oz weeks before the primary. 

McCormick discusses the lead-up to that moment at the beginning of his new book, Superpower in Peril, where he unveils a conservative policy vision for the GOP and discusses what he learned from his 2022 race. In the book, McCormick describes sitting down with the former president in his Mar-a-Lago home last spring, when at one point Trump’s assistant turned on the television and played a clip of McCormick speaking on a Bloomberg segment in January 2021. In the clip, McCormick says Trump bore some responsibility for the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and wishes President Joe Biden well. 

“President Trump was unhappy with both comments,” McCormick writes in his book. “Then the former president looked me in the eyes and warned, ‘You know you can’t win unless you say the election was stolen.’ I  made it clear to him that I couldn’t do that. Three days later, Trump  endorsed Mehmet Oz.”

Pennsylvania Republicans are optimistic McCormick will sail through the GOP primary this time.

“We can say a lot of reasons why he didn’t get the nomination, but he was well-respected, well-liked. And I think that that’s one of the reasons that the field has been cleared,” says Rob Gleason, a Pennsylvania GOP state committeeman who previously chaired the state Republican Party. “Doesn’t matter who the candidate for president is. I think he will be successful.”

Notable and Quotable

“She’s the vice president of the United States and people say to me, ‘Well why isn’t she doing this or that?’ I say because, because she’s the vice president, that’s the job description. You don’t do that much. You know, you, you know, you’re a source of strength, inspiration, intellectual resource, and the rest. And you, and she, I think she’s represented our country very well at home and abroad.”

—Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when pressed repeatedly by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper whether she thinks Vice President Kamala Harris is the best running mate for President Joe Biden, September 13, 2023

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