Pennsylvania Republicans got a double dose of good news Monday, and it suggests a good year ahead for the GOP.
For U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick, the headline is his blowout fundraising in the fourth quarter of 2023, $6.4 million. That’s more money than the incumbent Democrat he’s challenging, Sen. Bob Casey, has ever raised in a single quarter.
For former President Donald Trump, the good news is a poll from the left-leaning group Future Majority showing him leading President Joe Biden in Biden’s native Pennsylvania by six points, 46-40 percent. Trump already has a slim one-point advantage in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. With the new Future Majority poll, Trump beat Biden in four of the five most recent polls in Pennsylvania.
It’s part of a consistent trend showing Trump leading Biden in Pennsylvania and six other swing states that are likely to determine the outcome of the 2024 presidential race. And it’s good news for Keystone State Republican candidates like McCormick, who will benefit from having a strong performance at the top of the GOP ticket.
Not that McCormick isn’t helping himself.
McCormick raised $5.4 million from over 15,000 individual donors and put in an additional $1 million of his own in his first quarter as a 2024 Senate candidate, making for a groundbreaking haul, his campaign said in a press release. McCormick’s number beats any of Bob Casey’s fundraising quarters in 18 years and is among the largest first quarters ever for a Republican challenger.
“Dave McCormick has earned the support of Pennsylvanians from all walks of life because they believe he is the kind of leader who can address the burden of inflation on working families, push for a secure border, and protect the security of Americans at home and abroad. A seventh-generation Pennsylvanian, West Point graduate, and Pennsylvania job creator, Dave is exactly the kind of candidate who can beat Bob Casey in November, shake up Washington, and get this country back on track from the failed policies of Joe Biden,” said McCormick campaign manager Matt Gruda.
The Casey campaign raised $3.2 million for the third quarter of 2024.
“I’m no stranger to a tough race. I’ve always fought for PA, and I won’t stop now. We’re up against a wall of money, so I’m looking for 10,000 supporters to help us start 2024 off strong,” Casey posted on social media.
In addition to his fundraising success, McCormick just completed a trip to Israel to highlight his strong foreign policy resume and raise questions about Casey’s commitment to the Jewish state.
Delaware Valley supporters of McCormick like what they’re seeing from the candidate.
“Dave McCormick is running an excellent campaign so far,” Radnor businessman Austin Hepburn told DVJournal. “His fundraising is impressive. It’s going to be an expensive race.”
Democrats are already looking at a difficult U.S. Senate map as they attempt to hold their 51-49 majority. West Virginia is almost certain to flip to the GOP now that Sen. Joe Manchin has announced he’s not seeking reelection. Democratic incumbents in two other states that Trump carried easily in 2020 — Ohio and Montana — are up for reelection in November, too. If Democrats can’t hold Pennsylvania, they are assured of losing control of the Senate.
And if Biden can’t pick up his poll numbers here, it’s going to be tough for Casey to hold off McCormick.
Perhaps in an effort to shore up his support in Pennsylvania, Biden kicked off his 2024 campaign in Montgomery County on Friday with a speech attacking Trump. Biden went after Trump over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, claimed Trump would become a dictator if elected again, and compared Trump’s rhetoric to that of Hitler.
While going negative against Trump, Biden did not tout his own record. All of which has the GOP feeling optimistic.
“From calling out Biden’s ‘erosion’ of support, to bluntly saying his ‘numbers are bad,’ to already being desperate for a ‘rebound,’ the Pennsylvania press corps are calling in dire news for Joe Biden,” said Republican National Committee spokesperson Rachel Lee. “Democrats’ prospects in Pennsylvania are bleak, and in 300 short days, Joe Biden and Bob Casey will be reading the worst headlines of their careers yet: Democrats’ defeat.”