Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick has made no secret of his support for Israel or belief that the U.S. should stand by its key ally.
The Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania native put those beliefs into action this week, traveling to Israel to meet with members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and tour a site of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack.
“[H]e has a packed schedule while there,” a McCormick campaign spokesperson told DVJournal.
It may include visits with the families of hostages, top IDF leaders, and government officials. One site McCormick has already visited is the Kfar Aza kibbutz east of Gaza. Nearly 50 residents were murdered, and at least 20 others were reported missing after the Hamas attack. Some 1,200 Israelis were killed and and another 250 were kidnapped that day. At least 33 American citizens were killed, while others were taken hostage.
McCormick has made foreign policy a centerpiece of his campaign to oust Democrat Sen. Bob Casey, who is seeking a fourth term. The author of the recent book, “Superpower in Peril,” McCormick also holds a Ph.D. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, served as an undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury for international affairs under President George W. Bush, and was an Army officer and Gulf War veteran.
McCormick’s wife, Dina Powell McCormick, is also on the trip. A former deputy national security adviser in the Trump administration, Powell McCormick worked on Trump’s Middle East peace plan, the Abraham Accords, with the former president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
It’s not known how long McCormick will be in Israel.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia sees McCormick’s trip as a positive from an educational standpoint.
“We are always appreciative when individuals work to educate themselves with an in-person visit to Israel,” organization CEO and President Michael Balaban told DVJournal. “However, it is our policy, as a non-profit, not to comment on individuals running for office.”
McCormick’s visit may prompt Casey to make his own trip.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said she and “at least four” other members of the Senate Intelligence Committee will be in Israel for the rest of the week. Casey is on the committee, but a spokesperson did not respond to requests about whether he’s part of the group. It plans discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The McCormick-Casey contest will be one of the biggest races in Pennsylvania and the U.S. this year. Democrats have a one-vote majority in the Senate. Polls currently show McCormick trailing Casey by about seven points.
McCormick lost the 2022 Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary to Dr. Memet Oz, who was soundly defeated by Democrat John Fetterman months later.
McCormick has been dogging Casey over what Republicans see as less-than-wholehearted support for Israel in the wake of Oct. 7. During a recent podcast interview with DVJournal, McCormick said U.S. aid to the Jewish state is vital, and he urged Republicans to come to an agreement with the White House to fund Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and reform policies at America’s southern border.
“They have a supplemental with funding for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and changes to the border. And the president is not involved. He has not been involved from the beginning. He is apparently MIA on everything,” McCormick said.
“I’m particularly worried about Israel getting the support it needs to be able to finalize the destruction of Hamas. All these things are essentially creating uncertainty in the world about America’s leadership. And this weakness has to be replaced.”