After weeks of warm and fuzzy introductory television ads, David McCormick made it official last week. He is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.
The wealthy CEO of Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut hedge fund, McCormick’s ads present him as a likable, regular guy.
McCormick has introduced himself to the public by mentioning his family’s Christmas tree farm in Bloomsburg and highlighting his military service. He attended West Point and served as an Army paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne in Iraq during the First Gulf War, where he received the Bronze Star.
His latest videos talk about hunting deer, bailing hay, playing football, and wrestling in high school. He also wrestled at West Point and was co-captain his senior year.
“Now I’m running to the U.S. Senate to fight the woke mob hijacking America’s future,” McCormick says in one video. “Saving the Pennsylvania we love means fighting for it. Now let’s go.”
“All Pennsylvanians are enduring the disastrous policies that Joe Biden and the Democrats have unleashed on our nation, and I cannot stand by and let it continue,” McCormick said in a press release. “As a combat veteran, I watched the Biden administration’s disastrous handling of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the way he has continued to project weakness to the world.
“At the same time, in my business career I’ve seen wokeness damage our great companies and hurt good people. Weakness and wokeness are on the march across all of society. They are threats to our country’s future and antithetical to who we are as Pennsylvanians.
“I am running for Senate to stand up to the movement of weakness. I owe all of my success to the American values I learned on my family’s farm in Bloomsburg. I know what it takes to win. I’m battle-tested, Pennsylvania true. And that’s how the people of Pennsylvania can rest assured that I will never let them down.”
After serving in the Army, McCormick earned a Ph.D. in international affairs at Princeton. He then joined and led a successful tech business in Pittsburgh before taking positions in the George W. Bush administration.
He served as U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs and also on the National Security Council and in the Department of Commerce.
He was also CEO and president of two publicly traded software companies and was a consultant at McKinsey & Co.
In addition, McCormick has been a trustee for the United Service Organizations (USO), the Alexander Hamilton Society, and Carnegie Mellon University. He and his wife, Dina, also support a “wide range” of charities, according to the campaign website.
With Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) not running for reelection, McCormick joins a crowded field of contenders in the GOP primary. Two other wealthy candidates have moved to Pennsylvania to run for the seat, Dr. Mehmet Oz and former ambassador Carla Sands. Oz, who is well-known for his television show, jumped into the lead, according to a December poll. However, that poll also showed nearly 51 percent of voters are undecided, so the race remains fluid.
“I’m not completely convinced that Pennsylvania voters, particularly Republican voters, are going to embrace these wealthy candidates who lack a decades-long relationship to the state. Still, the ability to self-fund a race makes these candidates theoretically viable. And every new candidate in the race means that the odds of needing to get a majority of the vote to win declines,” said Berwood A. Yost, director of the Floyd Institute for Public Policy and Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College. “The smallest winning share of the vote in a primary for governor or Senate since 1926 was 31.2 percent in the 1994 Democratic primary. The lowest share in that time period for a Republican Senate primary was 36.4 percent in 1980 when there were eight candidates running.”
“The upshot is that a well-funded candidate may only need around a third of the primary vote to win, which improves the chances that one of these recent out-of-state candidates will win,” said Yost. “But in the end, what will probably matter most in this race is which candidate former President Donald Trump chooses to endorse.”
While Trump has not yet endorsed McCormick, bestselling author Sean Parnell endorsed his fellow veteran. Parnell, who dropped out of the Senate race due to accusations made by his estranged wife in a messy divorce case, had obtained the coveted Trump endorsement early on.
At least two of the other Republican contenders have disparaged McCormick, Oz, and Sands as outsiders. Kathy Barnette, an author and Fox News commentator who lives in Huntingdon Valley, called the three “carpetbaggers” during a recent rally for Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), who is running for governor. Barnette repeated the accusation during a recent debate for Senate candidates in western Pennsylvania.
“Joe Biden phoned it in from his basement. These very wealthy people are going to phone it in from their penthouses. They have no intention of really spending time with you,” Barnette said.
Also at that debate, Montgomery County businessman Jeff Bartos quipped, “Being a lifelong Pennsylvanian is a distinguishing characteristic in this campaign for the United States Senate in Pennsylvania.”