Although 2024 may seem like a long time away, politics has its own timeline.

Sen.  Bob Casey (D-Pa.) announced Monday that he is running again.

“Folks, I’m running for re-election. There’s still more work to do to cut through the gridlock, stand up to powerful special interests, and make the lives of hardworking Pennsylvanians easier,” Casey tweeted.

Democrats hope for a repeat of 2022, keeping abortion as the major wedge issue and downplaying economic concerns. Casey may make that strategy a bit trickier, however, having voted for some moderate restrictions on abortion in the past. Just last year, NPR described Casey as “an anti-abortion-rights Democrat,” despite his support for federal legislation allowing legal abortion without restriction at any point during a pregnancy.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee promptly responded to Casey’s announcement.

“From risking Pennsylvania workers’ pensions in Chinese state-run companies to using his Senate seat to enrich his family, Bob Casey has made a career of shady self-dealing and selling his voters out to the highest bidder,” said NRSC spokesman Philip Letsou.

Lawrence Tabas, chair of the Pennsylvania GOP said, “Bob Casey has shown time and time again that he has no problem putting his interests before those of his constituents. Pennsylvania deserves a Senator that will stand up for their values, not use their seat to enrich their own family. I’m confident that the Republican nominee will demonstrate to voters across the commonwealth that it’s time to send Casey back to Scranton.”

The National Republican Party is hoping Dave McCormick, who lost a Senate primary narrowly to Dr. Mehmet Oz in 2022, will be the party’s nominee to challenge Casey. But it looks like he’ll have to get past firebrand state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) first. Mastriano, who lost to Democrat Josh Shapiro in the governor’s race by nearly 15 points last year, has. strong support from members of the MAGA GOP base.

“Taking on any incumbent is challenging,” Mastriano told DVJournal. “Casey’s challenge is that other than running on his dad’s name, he’s an unremarkable senator who’s more interested in being a lackey for the radical left than fighting for Pennsylvania.”

McCormick said, “Bob Casey votes for Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer’s failing, far-left agenda 100 percent of the time. Thanks to Casey’s support for open borders, 5,000 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to fentanyl in 2020 alone. Pennsylvania is the second biggest gas-producing state in the country, yet Casey’s support for leftist energy policies has cost our state thousands of jobs. And even though Philadelphia has one of the highest murder rates in the country, Casey has done nothing to fight crime and instead has supported dangerous policies. A vote for Casey is a vote for Biden and Schumer — he’s a Washington insider and not a leader we can count on to deliver a better future for our great commonwealth.”

Is the party ready for Mastriano, or would the GOP faithful prefer McCormick?

National Republican Senate Committee Chair Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who oversees the group’s candidate recruitment, said via Twitter: “We need somebody who can win a primary and a general election. (Mastriano’s) last race demonstrated he couldn’t win a general.”

However, a Public Policy poll in March showed Mastriano well ahead of McCormick among GOP primary voters, at 39 percent to 21 percent. Kathy Barnette, who came in third in the primary in 2022, had 11 percent.

Well-known radio host Dom Giordano, who writes a column for DVJournal, isn’t holding back when it comes to another Mastriano candidacy, calling on Pennsylvania Republicans to do something to dissuade the state Senator now.

“The control of the United States Senate — perhaps even the White House — could ride on Pennsylvania Republicans acting early and decisively.”

GOP consultant Christopher Nicholas agreed.

“Sen. Mastriano has demonstrated that he can win a crowded GOP primary and then run a terrible, underfunded, and losing, general election campaign. Nominating him for U. S. Senate is a sure-fire way to give Sen. Casey a free pass back to the Senate,” Nicholas said.

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