(WHTM) – Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey says he and his team “look forward to the race” to represent Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate in 2024 as Dave McCormick prepares to enter the Republican primary.
“This is a very tough state to run statewide,” Casey told abc27’s Dennis Owens.
McCormick would be the first, and potentially only, Republican with statewide name recognition to enter the primary. In 2022 he lost the Republican nomination to Mehmet Oz by less than 1,000 votes on a ballot with seven candidates, four of whom each received less than 6%.
However, should he reach the general election, McCormick will be facing a three-term incumbent with a name Pennsylvania voters have known for decades.
“It’s daunting,” says Republican Commentator Jeffrey Lord. “It’s like challenging a Kennedy in Massachusetts.”
“McCormick is a very strong, impressive guy and candidate,” said Republican strategist Christopher Nicholas. “We see that because Democrats have been attacking him all summer… you don’t attack weak candidates. You attack strong candidates that instill fear in you.”
McCormick, a former hedge fund manager who served in the military, has the funds to make a run at Casey’s seat. Casey mailers are using feat to fundraise, saying they could be outspent.
“I think that does not bode well for Pennsylvania, said State Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia).
In July, it was reported that Casey raised more than $4 million in three months, his best fundraising quarter ever.
Pennsylvania Democrats will paint McCormick as an out-of-touch, out-of-state rich guy with ties to China who will ignore the working class.
“Policy that would only make him and his wealthy friends a lot more wealthy, and that’s not where Pennsylvania people are,” said Hughes.
The 2024 election will also have ties to a presidential election as Donald Trump, who did not endorse McCormick in 2022, leads the presidential primary field.
Asa Hutchinson, the former Governor of Arkansas who’s running against Trump, says “it would” be bad for McCormick to have Trump at the top of the Republican ticket.
“Donald Trump, whether you love him or not, you know, he brings controversy,” said Hutchinson. He brings chaos. And that’s not the path to victory. That’s not the path to bring in independent voters.”
McCormick will have to give voters a reason to not vote for Casey, a three-term incumbent, which will not be easy.
“It does give you a chance to have a conversation with the people about specific issues and what you’ve done and where you stand,” said Casey, “and I look forward to that.”