As part of the rollout, the McCormick campaign released a TV ad featuring the 56-year-old speaking directly to the camera from a high-school gymnasium.
“I’m Dave McCormick,” he says in the ad. “I’ve been fighting my whole life from wrestling in this gym to one just like it at West Point. I fought for freedom in Iraq and American capitalism, not socialism. And now I’m running for the US Senate to fight the woke mob, hijacking America’s future.”
McCormick is the latest candidate to join the GOP primary field to succeed retiring Sen. Pat Toomey, a two-term Republican. Among the other Republicans in the race are TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, former US ambassador Carla Sands and businessman Jeff Bartos.
McCormick, a former official in the Treasury Department under President George W. Bush, is a Pennsylvania native and West Point graduate. For years he has lived in Connecticut, where his hedge fund is located, but Republicans in Pennsylvania were recruiting McCormick to come back to the state and run.
His opening emerged in November, when leading Republican candidate Sean Parnell, who had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, dropped out amid a bitter public custody fight with his estranged wife.
While Trump has not endorsed a new candidate since Parnell’s departure, McCormick has multiple connections to the former GOP President. His wife, Dina Powell McCormick, was Trump’s deputy national security adviser.
A number of other Trump White House aides will also be formally advising his campaign, including Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller and Cliff Sims, according to a person familiar with the campaign.
McCormick’s entry comes almost two months after another person with Trump connections, Oz, jumped into the race.
Oz has cast himself as a “conservative who will put America first” and an adopted son of Pennsylvania, where he went to medical school. Like Trump, Oz is a TV figure from the New York area, and the two men have known each other for years. In 2018, Trump appointed Oz to the Presidential Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, reappointing him to the position in 2020.
Since entering the race, Oz has appeared several times on Fox News. Meanwhile, a super PAC supporting Oz called American Leadership Action has anticipated McCormick’s own candidacy. The group launched a TV ad on Thursday criticizing McCormick’s hedge fund for investing in China.
“McCormick even criticized President Trump’s China policy,” says the voiceover.
An ugly primary fight among Republicans could benefit Democrats looking to win the seat. Toomey’s retirement follows President Joe Biden’s defeat of Trump in Pennsylvania in the 2020 election, and Democrats see the race as a potential pick-up opportunity in 2022.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Rep. Conor Lamb, state senator Sharif Street, state representative Malcolm Kenyatta and Montgomery County commissioner Val Arkoosh all vying for their party’s nomination.