David McCormick, running again for Pa. GOP Senate nomination, takes his campaign to CPAC

by John Cole

Republican U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick said “the America we know is slipping away” during an appearance Friday at the 2024 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. 

mccormick

David McCormick, who is running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, is shown speaking to supporters during a primary election night event on May 17, 2022, in Pittsburgh. McCormick lost that election to Mehmet Oz. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

“It’s unrecognizable economically, in military terms, spiritually, the challenges around the world we see everywhere, and we need leadership that’s going to shake things up and take America back,” McCormick said. “And that’s why I’m running.”

McCormick, a former hedge fund manager and U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs during the George W. Bush administration is widely regarded as the front-runner for the Republican Party nomination for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. He is hoping to unseat three-term U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.).

During a conversation with David Milstein, former special assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, labeled “Saving Bethlehems” (a reference to the Pennsylvania city and its namesake), McCormick criticized President Joe Biden’s administration and attempted to paint Casey as a “man of inaction” and as a rubber stamp for the current administration.

He also dubbed Casey as “Punxsutawney Bob,” claiming that the Senator “only pokes his head out of his hole once every six years” when he’s up for reelection.

The annual conference is a who’s who of influential voices on the right. Scheduled speakers on Friday included U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio, U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Nigel Farage, former leader of the UK’s Brexit Party. 

Scheduled speakers on Saturday include former President Donald Trump, current Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, and President of Argentina Javier Milei. 

On Friday morning, McCormick referred to the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border as a “national security crisis.”

“He’s failed us miserably,” McCormick said of Biden’s handling of the southern border. “But I also think we should consider using military force to go after those cartels. This is a war, and we need to treat it as such.”

Ahead of McCormick’s appearance at CPAC, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party blasted McCormick for his previous role as CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, arguing that he shouldn’t be representing the state in elected office.

“At every opportunity, David McCormick has sold Pennsylvanians out to US adversaries to boost his bottom line,” Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson TaNisha Cameron said. “McCormick’s record of investing and managing billions with America’s adversaries is disqualifying.”

Underscoring the electoral importance of Pennsylvania, McCormick said the Keystone State will play a big role in the presidential election. 

“This is the battleground state that’s going to determine the presidency,” McCormick said. 

During a call with reporters in early January, McCormick said he doesn’t plan on endorsing a candidate for president during the Republican Party primary but will “endorse our nominee, whoever that is.”

Although he’s not currently backing Trump’s candidacy, McCormick mentioned the former president twice Friday, including lauding him for his administration’s record on Israel and China. 

“We have a president in Joe Biden that’s showing weakness. We’ve lost deterrence,” McCormick said. “We had deterrence under President Trump.”

During McCormick’s 2022 bid for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, he lost in the Republican Party primary to Mehmet Oz by less than 1,000 votes. Trump endorsed Oz over McCormick in that race.

McCormick has the support of CPAC and the Pennsylvania Republican Party and is recognized as the frontrunner for his party’s nomination, however he isn’t the only Republican on the primary ballot in April. Brandi Tomasetti, a secretary and treasurer for Conestoga Township in Lancaster County and self-described “MAGA” Republican,” and Joseph Vodvarka, a former candidate for various offices in Pennsylvania, both filed petitions to run for the seat.

Milstein, who facilitated the conversation with McCormick, described the race in Pennsylvania as a “very, very important” seat for Republicans to win to regain control of the U.S. Senate. Democrats currently hold a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, with Pennsylvania one of several seats that could determine which party holds the majority next year, 

Recent polling shows Casey with a narrow lead over McCormick. The Cook Political Report currently rates the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania as leaning toward a Democratic victory. 

McCormick isn’t the only Pennsylvania Republican to speak at the conservative conference.

On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R-10th District) participated in a discussion about the goals of the House Freedom Caucus, and York County District Attorney Dave Sunday, who is seeking the Republican Party nomination for Pennsylvania Attorney General, delivered a brief address about his work as a district attorney and his campaign for statewide office. 

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, who was unseated by Casey in 2006, is scheduled to speak in a general session titled “The Bible Uncancelled.”

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

The Pennsylvania Capital-Star is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news site dedicated to honest and aggressive coverage of state government, politics and policy.

The nearly 13 million people who call the commonwealth home depend on their interests being safeguarded by one of the nation’s largest, most expensive, and often inefficient and corrupt full-time state legislatures. The actions of the legislative, executive and judicial branches touch on almost every aspect of Pennsylvanians’ daily lives.

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