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McCormick Checks In at Geno’s, McCormick and Casey Rake in Campaign Cash

If you’re running for office in Pennsylvania, you need to stop in South Philadelphia for a cheesesteak and to schmooze with the locals.

Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick checked that box last week when he visited Geno’s Steaks accompanied by some Republican heavyweights.

In addition to talking with supporters, McCormick put on an apron and fried some steak.

“This campaign is all about connecting with Pennsylvanians in every corner of our great commonwealth. Our stop at Geno’s, a Philadelphia institution that makes a great cheesesteak, was a fun opportunity to meet with voters and even hop behind the counter to test our skills on the grill. I’m grateful for the support of two great public servants, former Sens. Pat Toomey and Rick Santorum, who understand what it takes to deliver results for Pennsylvania,” said McCormick.

McCormick had his cheesesteak “wiz wit.”

Dave McCormick (right) with former Sen. Pat Toomey (center) and a supporter.

Earlier Wednesday, McCormick held a rally in Shavertown, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre area with Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Santorum. Then, they hopped on McCormick’s campaign bus and headed to Philadelphia, where Toomey joined them.

Daines chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

House Republicans have also been jumping on the McCormick bandwagon, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who, like McCormick, is a former wrestler. Jordan told Punchbowl News, “McCormick’s a great candidate and a wrestling guy. We want to do some things with the wrestling community in Pennsylvania because it’s so strong. It’s the biggest wrestling state in the country.”

Jordan plans to hold a fundraiser for McCormick later this month.

McCormick said previously he is “honored to receive the endorsement of fellow former wrestler Jim Jordan. Jim is a fearless leader in Congress, and I’m grateful for his support.” He also referenced “the toughness, resilience, and leadership [they all] learned on the mat… I’m proud to share a common bond and passion for our sport.”

McCormick wrestled in high school in Bloomsburg and in college at West Point. He’s even airing a commercial about it.

Both Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), McCormick’s general election opponent, and McCormick have full campaign coffers. McCormick’s campaign posted $6.2 million in the first quarter of 2024, including $1 million of his own money. Prior to entering politics, McCormick was a successful businessman.

“Pennsylvanians from across the commonwealth are joining the movement to elect Dave McCormick, a seventh-generation Pennsylvanian, combat veteran, and Pennsylvania job creator who will bring new leadership and fresh ideas to the Senate. Career politician Bob Casey has voted for Joe Biden’s failing agenda 98 percent of the time, fueling a border crisis that has killed over 4,000 Pennsylvanians from fentanyl, violent crime, record inflation, and regulations that are killing the commonwealth’s energy sector,” said McCormick communications director Elizabeth Gregory. “Dave is exactly the kind of candidate who can beat Bob Casey, secure a Senate majority, and get this country back on track.”

Casey, who has also released campaign ads, raised $5.6 million in the first quarter. The Democrat is running for his fourth term.

“Our record-breaking fundraising reflects the momentum and motivation behind Senator Casey’s re-election campaign,” said Tiernan Donohue, campaign manager for Bob Casey for Senate. “Sen. Casey’s supporters across the commonwealth know he is facing the most competitive and expensive race of his career, and they are standing together to make sure we have the resources we need to keep this seat.”

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Lancaster County’s Tomasetti To Take On McCormick in GOP Senate Primary

Lancaster County Republican Brandi Tomasetti is challenging Dave McCormick for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination and the chance to take on three-term U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) in November.

Tomasetti, the secretary-treasurer of Conestoga Township, announced her candidacy last week.

“I’m just a fed-up American,” she told DVJournal. “I’m not happy with the direction that the country is headed…It seemed like the best time, especially since the two people running have been lifetime politicians. And I don’t think that they’re good for the country.

“I don’t agree with them,” Tomasetti said. “And I think I can do a better job.”

McCormick lost the 2022 GOP Senate primary to TV Dr. Mehmet Oz, who then went on to defeat at the hands of Democrat John Fetterman. Many Pennsylvania Republicans expressed regret at not nominating McCormick, and he enjoys widespread support from the state GOP.

“We welcome [Tomasetti] to the race and look forward to winning the primary in April,” Elizabeth Gregory, McCormick’s communications director, told DVJournal. “Come November, Pennsylvanians will elect combat veteran, West Point graduate, and seventh-generation Pennsylvanian Dave McCormick to shake things up in Washington and put an end to Bob Casey’s ineffective 17-year career in the Senate.”

Tomasetti, who describes herself as an America First, anti-war advocate, is undettered by McCormick’s headstart.

In her campaign video, she accused McCormick of being a Republican in name only who is “unlikely to succeed” in Pennsylvania against Casey.

She took a shot at McCormick’s past as former CEO of Bridgewater by calling him “China Dave,” a line used by Oz during the 2022 primary.

Tomasetti said she didn’t know the ‘China Dave’ line came from Oz.

“He has been known to be a wealthy investor for China,” she said. “He’s also been quoted praising China, saying something along the lines of, ‘When China succeeds, the U.S. succeeds.’ I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. I think it’s very clear what China is doing to the United States is wrong.

“Dave McCormick seems to be somebody who somewhat believes in a global economy,” she added. “I’m okay with a global economy to a certain extent, but I really support a strong localized American economy. And you go to the stores, and all of our stores are closing down. Everything’s cheaply made in China; you buy it online.”

McCormick has made confronting China a central part of his campaign. He has written a book (“Superpower in Peril”) laying out what he says is a strategy for American strength to confront China. And he has called China “the gravest threat” to U.S. security and well-being “since the end of World War II.”

Tomasetti’s complaints about McCormick extend beyond China. She took a page from Democratic attacks on McCormick’s residency. “He hasn’t been here. He doesn’t know what we’re going through here…I just really don’t respect the fact that he sells himself as a fifth-generation Pennsylvanian when he was just born here, and then his career took him elsewhere.”

McCormick has brushed aside previous residency criticisms by pointing out that he has a home in Pittsburgh and cast ballots in the Pittsburgh precinct in the 2022 primary and general elections.

He grew up in Bloomsburg, where his father was the former president of Bloomsburg University. After graduating from West Point and serving in the U.S. Army, McCormick started his financial career in Pittsburgh before joining President George W. Bush’s administration.

Tomasetti’s campaign video boasts of her Pennsylvania roots with a vow that she won’t leave.

Tomasetti said she cares deeply about healthcare reform and lowering costs. While pointing out that she doesn’t “believe in socialized medicine,” she argued that elected officials need to do something, including requiring cost transparency from doctors. “I have a feeling that the reason they’re not doing this is because they’re paid off.”

She advocated for more funding for the environment, saying America’s “water is toxic.

“There’s things in our water, there’s plastics in our water that are disruptive to women’s hormones,” Tomasetti said. “Women are having infertility problems because of all the chemicals in our environment. I just think that needs to be addressed, and I think we could do better.”

She donated to Donald Trump’s campaigns in 2016 and 2020 and said last year she was invited to private campaign events in Philadelphia and at Mar-a-Lago. She also publicly endorsed Trump on social media.

Tomasetti, 32, also said she wants to see more young people in public office. “There are no term limits,” she said. “These people stay in there forever, and they refer to the people in our Senate as dinosaurs. So, I’d really like to get some a fresh perspective in there.”

The primary is set for April 23.

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McCormick Touts Leadership, Offers Policy Views on DelVal Campaign Swing

Talking with Dave McCormick, you’d never know he’s a wealthy former CEO. McCormick is down-to-earth but also smart. He marries his background in the financial industry–he led Bridgewater, one of the largest hedge funds—with a commonsense approach to government.

On a campaign swing in the Delaware Valley, he held two very different events Wednesday, listening to the concerns of a small group of community leaders at a Black church in Philadelphia and then holding a rally for supporters in suburban Bridgeport.

Now in his second campaign for the U.S. Senate, McCormick fielded questions from a mostly African American group at First Immanuel Baptist Church in northwest Philadelphia. People wanted to know his positions on foreign affairs, the economy, energy, and education.

Calvin Tucker, deputy chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, introduced McCormick as “a thinker and a doer.”

Dave McCormick flanked by Calvin Tucker (left) and the Rev. Todd Johnson, pastor, First Immanuel Baptist Church.

“McCormick wrote a very instructional book, ‘Superpower in Peril.’ We can relate to that because last night was evidence of peril in this city,” said Tucker, referring to looters that recently hit the city. “We need leadership on those levels. And yes, I believe he will deal with the international crisis we’re facing. We need someone who can thoughtfully put together strategies.”

“I’m a guy who believes in America,” said McCormick. “It’s the greatest country in history.” While conceding there are “a lot of problems,” McCormick said things can be turned around with the right leadership. It has happened in the past.

“We see inflation is a 40-year high. The talking point coming out of the Biden administration is inflation has slowed down; it’s only growing at 3 percent. But prices are up 25 percent since President Biden took office…It really hurts working families, and it hurts elders.”

“We see it in the fentanyl crisis,” he said. “Which is a direct consequence of the bad border policy.” He visited the border during his last campaign and saw cartel members across the border and people streaming across.

“It’s a direct consequence of a lack of law and order, which is a huge problem; what we saw last night in Philadelphia is not an outlier. That is a consequence of philosophy. It’s not just DA Krasner, although he’s a manifestation of it. It’s a philosophy that we don’t ensure law and order. And that’s the death of communities. That’s the death of entrepreneurship. When you work all day to create a small business, and somebody throws a brick through the window, and you have a $5,000 bill that you can’t afford.”

“You can’t afford to have a business in a place where crime runs rampant,” said McCormick.

“We see it in our energy sector,” he said. “We went from being energy dominant, energy independent, and in three short years, we’re an energy importer. So, we’ve lost security in the world because we’re no longer dominant. We’ve lost economic opportunity because those great jobs (are in) Pennsylvania.”

McCormick visited areas where Pennsylvania natural gas is being extracted through fracking.

Dave McCormick speaks to supporters at a rally in Bridgeport

“In the southeast here, if we had a facility at the Philadelphia port, those great jobs and opportunities to export natural gas are restricted by the regulation and the blanket that’s come on top of it by the Biden administration,” he said.

“And when you think about what’s happening in our schools, essentially a war on culture, a war on the principles that made America great,” he said. “A meritocracy. The belief that America is a great country, with dark chapters, but a great country.”

“The progressive ideology that’s highjacked our schools is making it harder for our kids to get the education they need. And it’s showing up in statistics. We’re 27 in our high schools in the industrial world.”

Leadership was McCormick’s theme at the upbeat rally at Taproom 23 in Bridgeport, where about 200 enthusiastic supporters and party leaders cheered his remarks.

State GOP Chair Lawrence Tabas called on the party to unite.

“We’re united because we now see what happens when our party doesn’t work together,” said Tabas. “We’re lucky we have somebody like Dave McCormick…losing by a whisker in the (2022) primary. It would have been easy for him to say… ‘Goodbye, good luck’ to politics. But he didn’t.”

The crowd chanted, “Dave! Dave! Dave!” and cheered as McCormack came onstage. McCormick slammed  President Joe Biden and called his opponent, incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D), a “rubber stamp” for inflation-causing policies.

“We’ve got a southern border that’s open and too many factories that are closed,” said McCormick. “Crime is up. Does anyone have a doubt when they saw what happened in Center City Philadelphia, last night? And incomes are down. The price of food, rent, and gas is high, and confidence in our leaders is low.”

“We cannot accept the status quo,” he said. “We cannot lose our country. We cannot lose our culture. We have to have change,” said McCormick.

“I am Pennsylvania first. This is where I was born and raised… I’m a combat veteran. I’m a businessman. I’m a seventh-generation Pennsylvanian.”

Casey, who is running for his fourth term, “was born to run for political office. And I was born to shake things up.”

A West Point graduate, McCormick served in the Army in the 82nd Airborne Division during the Persian Gulf War, receiving the bronze star.

His parents were educators, and he grew up in the Pittsburgh area and then moved with his family to Bloomsburg, where his father was president of Bloomsburg University and became chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The family grew Christmas trees on a farm that McCormick still owns.

McCormick, who holds a doctorate from Princeton, also worked as undersecretary of the treasury under President George W. Bush.

Montgomery County GOP Chairman Christian Nascimento called McCormick, “Just the person we need. He’s got the political ability to beat Casey, and he is the senator we need for Pennsylvania.”

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FLOWERS: Fetterman Doesn’t Respect the Senate and He Doesn’t Respect You

This column first appeared in Broad + Liberty.

I have always needed someone else to dress me.

From my earliest days, I was pretty much taken care of in the fashion department. First, my mother made most of my clothes, including my holiday dresses, my First Holy Communion outfit, and all the costumes I wore for Halloween and school pageants. Her skills were legendary, including the year she made my three brothers, my little sister, and me a living tableau of the American Revolution. It was 1976, the year of the Bicentennial, and she turned my three brothers into a raggedy band of colonial fighters, me into Betsey Ross, and my five-year-old sister into the Liberty Bell.

Sadly, in a move that would foreshadow other costume fails, the bell made out of papier-mache was so wide that it prevented my sister from going through doors, thereby frustrating the entire purpose of seeking candy from strangers.  If you can’t get within five feet of the neighbor, you go home with an empty bag.

When I was old enough to go to school, I was immediately enrolled in a series of all-girl Catholic institutions where, suffice it to say, there was no room for sartorial creativity. You wore what the nuns decided you needed to wear, and you went to Whalen and Whalen uniform distributors on North 12th Street to order the frocks. They were all invariably navy, tweed, and itchy.

In my last year of high school, we were able to vote on our uniform, one of the few perks of being a senior. My class chose a lovely maroon and pink ensemble, which I still have hanging in a closet somewhere. And, to the delight of my mother and the horror of some old classmates, I wore that plaid kilt even decades after I graduated. This was not me attempting to be a Brittany Spears-Lolita schoolgirl. Neither my weight nor my dance skills would have made me a threat to the ”Hit Me Baby One More Time” crowd.

The reason I reused my kilt was because I literally had no fashion sense and no ability to figure out what worked with my figure and my personality. To this day, I suffer from the “Catholic Girl School” syndrome, wherein I find something I like, usually black, and buy ten versions of it. That is because I never developed the ability to express my creativity through my clothing. I may be a 61-year-old professional, but inside I’m still the girl who got yelled at for having droopy knee socks.

I write this to explain that I empathize with those who aren’t stylish gems. I write this to show that I don’t judge someone based on the value of their clothing or the number of “name” brands they carry on their arms and hang from their ears. I am the last person in the world to criticize someone for being nerdy and unfashionable.

But I am also someone who respects herself enough not to appear in public in a slovenly manner. My clothing is always laundered, ironed, and my hair combed. I wear makeup because I look better with it. My shoes may sometimes have holes in the soles, but no one but yours truly knows it (especially when it rains). And I dress appropriately for the occasion. I don’t sport shorts at the office, I don’t show cleavage in the courtroom (as if), and I don’t ever, ever, ever wear jeans when I’m planning to meet clients. I have respect for myself and for other people.

None of us can say the same about the junior senator from Pennsylvania.

John Fetterman has a lot of flaws, and many of them are much more serious than the way he dresses, but the mere fact that he has so little respect and concern for his constituents that he parades around in cargo pants, oversized shirts, and unruly facial hair is a sign of absolute arrogance. And now, he has essentially forced his Senate colleagues to get rid of any semblance of a dress code.

The fact that John Fetterman, a man who has a Harvard degree and lots of money, mostly given to him by other people, doesn’t have the decency to put on a suit and a tie when he is representing the people of my Commonwealth, many of whom did not even vote for him, is reprehensible. It is a sign that he just doesn’t give a damn.

His supporters will say that this makes him “real” and that they love the fact that he doesn’t play the game. They think he’s a maverick, a working-class guy, and cool.

He is none of those things. He is, at best, lazy. At his worst, though, he is a person who thinks the rules do not apply to him, that civility is not in his job description, and that immaturity and a questionable sense of hygiene are entirely appropriate in the halls of Congress.

Some will say they would rather have a man like John Fetterman, who doesn’t pretend to be what he is not, instead of well-dressed demagogues like Matt Gaetz, who has apparently adopted “Exxon Valdez” as his hair care regimen. But while Gaetz has questionable politics, at least he has the decency to show respect for his office and the institutions of Congress by not showing up to work as some hulking, non-musical Beach Boy.

There are many reasons not to like John Fetterman. His politics, his disregard for the sanctity of human life, his wife, his slacker personality, and the fact that he basically lied his way into office by hiding his severe medical disability.

But the fact that he didn’t even try to pull up his damn pants particularly repulses this former Catholic schoolgirl. If only Sister Madeleine Marie were around to deal with him.

Americans For Prosperity Action Endorses McCormick for U.S. Senate

It’s Christmas in July for Dave McCormick.

Americans For Prosperity Action announced Wednesday it is throwing its weight behind the Republican in his campaign against incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr. in 2024. The endorsement comes despite the fact that the author and former hedge fund CEO who ran against Dr. Mehmet Oz for the Republican nomination last year has not announced another bid for office.

He is, however, widely expected to eventually enter the race.

The political action committee, affiliated with the free-market organization Americans For Prosperity, announced other U.S. Senate endorsements on Wednesday as well. They included U.S. Sen. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and retired U.S. Army Captain Sam Brown of Nevada.

“The last three election cycles have made it clear that if we want better policies from Washington, we need better candidates who can lead our country forward,” said Nathan Nascimento, the PAC’s executive director. “AFP Action is prepared for an unprecedented election cycle engagement in 2024. We’ll be engaging in more primaries at every level of office and using our unmatched data capabilities to bring new voters into the political process. We are ready to deploy the strongest and most effective grassroots army in the country to change the outcome of critical races and elect champions for policies that will empower Americans.”

McCormick, who served in the 82nd Airborne Division during the Persian Gulf War, was a Treasury undersecretary for President George W. Bush. He was CEO of Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds, from 2020 to 2022.

McCormick has been traveling the state, meeting potential voters, and promoting his book, “Superpower in Peril.”

Casey, who shares a name with his famous father who had served as Pennsylvania governor, is seeking his fourth term.

Perhaps taking a populist cue from Sen. John Fetterman (D) in 2022, Casey said on his campaign website he will “stand up to powerful corporate interests and make the lives of hardworking Pennsylvanians a little bit easier.”

Between 2017 and 2022, Casey’s top contributors were law firms, lobbyists, finance, insurance, and real estate firms, according to

“Pennsylvania cannot have another term of Bob Casey rubber-stamping Biden’s big-government agenda. Pennsylvanians have seen enough from Casey to know that he’s not going to stand up to the status quo,” said AFP Action Senior Advisor Ashley Kingensmith. “They’ve have had enough of record-breaking spending, redistribution, and constraining regulation from Washington—and they’re the ones paying the price.

“That’s why we’re sending out the signal and encouraging Dave McCormick to enter this race and give the Keystone State the representation it needs in Washington. Should McCormick choose to run, he will have the backing and enthusiasm of our grassroots who are ready to send him to Washington,” she said.

Nascimento added, “This is an example of AFP Action getting involved earlier in the election cycle. We’re identifying strong candidates who have the qualities and principles we want to see representing Americans in Washington. Dave McCormick is one of those candidates.”

Should McCormick decide to run, the Democrats have their swords out.

Maddy McDaniel, senior communications adviser to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, said, “David McCormick is a Wall Street mega-millionaire who has sold out Pennsylvanians to make millions for himself, his wealthy friends, and the Chinese government. Sen. Bob Casey has spent his career delivering for Pennsylvania families, while David McCormick has shipped American jobs overseas and prioritized China over Pennsylvania.”


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Ahead of Possible Senate Bid, McCormick Blames SVB Crisis on Biden Fiscal Policy

Former Bridgewater CEO and possible 2024 U.S. Senate hopeful Dave McCormick slammed what he said was a “decade” of bad monetary and fiscal policy from government leaders that led to recent bank meltdowns.

McCormick made the claim during a DVJournal podcast interview regarding the historic collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and the federal government’s scrambling efforts to contain the fallout.

Acknowledging that “anybody that’s predicting too much” about the crisis “probably is too confident” about the “dynamic situation,” McCormick—who is widely viewed as a likely Senate challenger to incumbent Democrat Sen. Bob Casey next year—argued there are “a set of root causes” that led to SVB’s collapse.

“We’ve had a decade or more of misguided fiscal policy and misguided monetary policy,” McCormick said. “We’ve had fiscal policy that has been enormous spending, and that spending has accelerated dramatically under Joe Biden.

“Discretionary spending has gone up by about 40 percent,” he continued. “You’ve had the three big pieces of legislation, which have added something like $18 trillion of new spending over the next 10 years, and that’s a huge driver of inflation.”

McCormick further argued that “very low interest rates” have driven financiers to adjust their spending and investment practices accordingly, driving them to “lock in long-duration treasuries and things like that in search of yield.

“And when the Fed raised rates to essentially offset the inflation that they helped create, that created a crisis at SVB because those treasuries that they held in their balance sheet went down in value,” he said. “They had to sell capital to try to close the hole, and that spooked their depositors and their depositors started to take out money.”

McCormick called the present chaos “the tip of the iceberg in terms of the problem,” one that “[won’t] go away until we get our fiscal house in order and back to our normal monetary policy.”

McCormick, who is promoting his new book “Superpower In Peril,” is increasingly being viewed as a favorite for the 2024 Senate race, with many analysts and strategists balking at the prospect of another bid by state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who lost his gubernatorial bid against Gov. Josh Shapiro last year.

However, a Public Policy Polling survey this week showed Mastriano with a sizeable lead ahead of McCormick in a potential 2024 GOP primary matchup.

Mastriano Reportedly Eyes Run for U.S. Senate

If God wants state Sen. Doug Mastriano to run for U.S. Senate, He hasn’t told the leadership of the Republican party.

Last week, Politico reported Mastriano — crushed by nearly 15 points in last year’s governor’s race against then-Attorney General Josh Shapiro – is considering a challenge to Democrat Bob Casey in 2024. He’s “praying” about it, Mastriano told the magazine. After God, his wife, Rebbie, will have the final word he said.

But National Republican Senate Committee Chair Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who is in charge of the group’s candidate recruitment, already has a word or two on the subject: No way.

“We need somebody who can win a primary and a general election. His last race demonstrated he couldn’t win a general,” Daines tweeted.

He is not alone. “Mastriano running for any statewide office would be another big gift to Pennsylvania Democrats,” said Christopher Nicholas with Eagle Consulting Group.

Mastriano ran as a solidly MAGA candidate with hardline views on social issues like abortion in the relatively purple state of Pennsylvania. He lost the money race, raising just $7 million compared to Shapiro’s $73 million.

Pennsylvania Republicans told DVJournal they were not interested in a repeat performance.

Republican insiders are already looking to former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick in 2024.

“I think [Mastriano] has little to no chance of defeating David McCormick in a primary,” said Jeff Jubelirer with Bellevue Communications. “McCormick came within a whisker of defeating Dr. Oz in the GOP U.S. Senate primary in 2022, and many observers believed he would have fared better, and perhaps even beat, John Fetterman in the general election.

Charlie Gerow, CEO of Quantum Communications who also ran in the GOP gubernatorial primary, said Mastriano would have to give up his state Senate seat or run for both offices at once.

“I think his constituents would not be happy with that,” said Gerow. “A lot of people are talking about running for the U.S. Senate. He took a lot of time away (from his state Senate job) to run for governor.”

And, Republicans say, defeating an incumbent like Casey won’t be easy.

“Perhaps if Donald Trump injects himself again in the Senate race, it could benefit Mastriano a little [in the primary], but it didn’t help him make a dent when he ran against Josh Shapiro for governor,” Jubelirer said.

“I think the Republicans would prefer a stronger candidate, especially after taking it on the chin statewide in 2022.”

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TOOMEY: Farewell To The Senate (Part One)

Editor’s note: These are the farewell remarks to the Senate from Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.-R), who is retiring from the U.S. Senate after serving for 12 years.  

Madam President, I rise for the customary farewell address. I would like to begin by thanking our colleague and our leader, Mitch McConnell, for his very, very kind words. I appreciate that, Leader McConnell. I would also like to say that I appreciate the confidence you have repeatedly placed in me. Your recollections have brought back many memories.

One was the (deficit reduction) super-committee. I served on the super-committee, but what most of you probably don’t know is that Leader McConnell had great reservations about putting me on the super-committee. Oh, yes, he grilled me for what seemed like hours over several occasions.

Here is why: He grilled me because he wanted an outcome. And his concern was, will this be firebrand from the Club for Growth be willing to compromise, be willing to reach an agreement that couldn’t possibly be exactly what he wanted?

What was most important—as I recall from our conversations—to Leader McConnell was that the people on that supercommittee, at least the ones that he could appoint, be interested in a successful outcome?

I would suggest that one of the things that is underappreciated about Leader McConnell is how relentlessly focused he is on outcomes. It is hard to know because he doesn’t tell us that much about what he is thinking, if you haven’t noticed, but I am pretty sure that that is a big driver.

So, Leader McConnell, I appreciate your leadership. I appreciate the confidence you placed in me. I appreciate our friendship and terrific working relationship.

For the many thanks that I have to give, I will start with my family. Starting with my parents, they did a great job raising six kids, I will tell you that much. I have to really stress my gratitudefor my wife Kris. Most of you probably don’t know, but Kris had a very successful and promising career as a consultant, which she put aside so that I could pursue mine. So, in many ways, I think she had a tougher job because she was home raising three kids. And she has done a phenomenal job of that.

Last month, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, and I think I will spend the next 25 years letting her know how much I appreciate her. Our kids are here. Bridget is 22; Patrick is 21; and Duncan is 121⁄2.

You know, growing up in a political family has its disadvantages. You would be surprised to learn, but it seems like about every 6 years or so people ran some really nasty ads about me on television. They did. The kids see ads, obviously. Also, I missed more of their activities than I would have liked to because I had to be here, but they were always terrifically understanding about that. I am sure looking forward to spending more time with each of them.

For those of us who serve on this body, we all know that staffs are the unsung heroes of our successes. I have been luckier than anybody deserves to be with the teams that I have had working for me over the years—18 years in public office over a 24-year pe- riod; 6 in the House and 12 in the Senate. I have just had wonderful, wonderful folks—mostly younger people, as weknow our staffs tend to be, but just terrifically capable, hard-working, bright people.

My State staff, for instance—Leader McConnell was kind enough to point out—the reputation that we had. I don’t deserve the credit for that. They are the ones who worked so hard on behalf of our constituents.

From Philly to Erie and the other 65 counties and enumerable little boroughs and townships, every day they approached constituent service with enthusiasm and professionalism that was amazing. I mean, little boroughs requesting federal grants and businesses struggling with federal bureaucracies and regulations, veterans stymied by the VA or the Social Security Administration—it didn’t matter what it was, my staff was on the ball getting the job done and doing it with a great attitude.

My personal office here in DC, both when I was in the House and in the Senate, also are just terrific, terrific people.

You know, I represent a very big state that is relatively close to DC so we have a huge number of constituents who want to come down and make their case, as they should. Most of those meetings end up getting taken by our staff, as you know. They have just done such a great job.

Our leg and comms shops are always working so hard to get the policy exactly right and get our message right; the administrative staff that kept things running smoothly so I never had to worry about anything.

I have to say a special thanks to the Banking Committee staff. I have been on the Banking Committee since I got here, but only the last 2 years have I been the ranking member on the committee. I honestly think we accomplished about as much as you can when you are in the minority, and so much of it is because it is a great team.

We focused on all the areas of jurisdiction of the committee: financial services, monetary policy, housing, transit. We did a lot of important work on the nominees to important regulatory posts. I think we did a good job of providing the oversight of powerful regulators, including encouraging them to stay in their lanes. I will always be grateful to them.

By the way, many of them are still here, and they will be here to the bitter end. We are still processing requests for the omni.

I have got to say a big thanks to the campaign teams that I have had over the years. You know, my first House primary was a very improbable success.

I know most of you are thinking any election that I won was an improbable success. I get that. But I can tell you for sure, it wouldn’t have happened without a terrifically talented and dedicated campaign staff, some of whom became part of the official staff, others have chosen to stay on the political side.

As for all of you guys, my colleagues, I have teamed up with every Republican at some point over the years, and most of my Democratic colleagues also at one time or another, and it has been a real honor and it has been a privilege to work with each of you. You folks have been terrific allies, even when it is on an item that is a rare item of agreement.

Speaking of which, let me say a word about my colleague Bob Casey. You know, I don’t think you could ask for a more collegial, thoughtful colleague than the fellow that shares the senatorial responsibilities with me for Pennsylvania. The fact is, we canceled each other’s vote out almost every time—that is a true fact—but we have also worked together when we could.

One of the areas where we had just tremendous success is filling vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania.

In fact, Senator Casey, and according to the last count that I have, you and I working together these last 12 years got 33 federal judges confirmed to the bench in Pennsylvania.

Now, that happens because we have great staff work happening; we have volunteers who do a wonderful job of vetting candidates across our commonwealth; but it also happens because Bob and I wanted to get this job done so that the people of Pennsylvania could have justice. And I think that only two—only New York and California have had more judges confirmed in this time.

So, Senator Casey, I appreciate the great working relationship we have had.

PA Senators Split on Vote to Derail Strike

A day after the U.S. House of Representatives acted to scotch a railroad workers’ strike, the Senate followed suit Thursday with an 80-15 vote of its own.

While several unions had approved a deal worked out by the Biden administration and the union leaders in September, a handful balked and threatened a strike. That could have crippled the U.S. economy just before Christmas.

On Monday, President Joe Biden called on Congress to act.

However, the Senate rejected an accompanying bill from the House that would have allowed seven days of paid sick leave for unionized workers.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) was one of several Republicans who voted for the sick leave provision, then joined five members of the Democratic caucus — Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), an independent, as well as John Hickenlooper (Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Ed Markey (Mass.) — in voting no to the strike measure.

“In an effort to prevent a strike, I voted to extend deliberations. Congress should not dictate terms nor intervene in these private negotiations,” Toomey said afterward. “In fact, it would be my preference that Congress would not play any role here.”

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) expressed his view on Twitter. “The tentative agreement brokered by President Biden and Secretary Walsh makes meaningful improvements in the lives of railway workers. It’s a good start, but it’s not enough.” Casey urged the Senate to insert the additional paid sick leave benefits.

Under the agreement wages will rise 24 percent by 2024, including an immediate 14 percent pay increase, giving rail workers an average salary of $110,000 a year.

Rail industry officials were pleased and relieved.

“The Senate acted with leadership and urgency with today’s vote to avert an economically devastating rail work stoppage,” said American Association of Railway President and CEO Ian Jefferies. “As we close out this long, challenging process, none of the parties achieved everything they advocated for. The product of these agreements is a compromise by nature, but the result is one of substantial gains for rail employees. More broadly, all rail stakeholders and the economy writ large now have certainty about the path forward.

“Let’s be clear railroading is tough, essential work that keeps our nation moving, and our employees deserve our gratitude for moving America’s freight and doing so safely every day. The gains in this agreement are significant, including historic wage increases, best-in-class healthcare, and meaningful progress in creating more predictable, scheduled work shifts. Without a doubt, there is more to be done to further address our employees’ work-life balance concerns, but it is clear this agreement maintains rail’s place among the best jobs in our nation.”

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Strategists See ‘Stranger Things’ Scenario in Fight for U.S. Senate

In April, Republican control of the U.S. Senate looked like a lock. In August, all GOP hope appeared lost.

In the past few weeks, however, polls — and the news cycle — have been trending the Republicans’ way. Seven Senate seats are in play according to the RealClearPolitics polling averages: Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Other prognosticators predict fewer states will come down to the wire, as Republicans defend 21 Senate seats and Democrats defend 14 in November. But Republican Party strategist Ford O’Connell says pundits and the press are making the same mistake they have made every two years for a decade now.

Trusting the polls.

“The media’s reliance on GOP suppression polls is nothing new and 2022 is no different,” O’Connell told Inside Sources. “Generally speaking, Republican candidates are underperforming in the polls. That said, if Republicans at the top of the ticket continue to hammer home in unison the rising cost of living, crime, and the need to secure the border, the party will be victorious in November.”

A 2021 investigation by the American Association for Public Opinion Research found polls at both the national and statewide level in 2020 missed races by the biggest margins in decades, and always in the Democrats’ favor. If polling is off by the same margin as two years ago, Republicans are competitive, or better, in all seven of these races.

Events are working in the GOP’s favor, too, said Tim Jones, a former Republican speaker of Missouri’s House of Representatives, now a talk radio host who monitors the national scene. The economy is not likely to improve before the election and the Democrats seem overly reliant on the abortion issue after the Dobbs decision in the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Democrats have stopped talking about COVID. They are not talking about January 6 anymore. They are only talking about abortion,” Jones told Inside Politics shortly after his plane arrived at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Tuesday. “Republicans could be undercounted or maybe just don’t want to be counted.”

Jones suspects the Dobbs decision might have come too early for Democrats.

“When the decision came in June, Democrats predicted the world would end and it would be Handmaiden’s Tale,” Jones said. “Now people are starting to figure out it just means that red states are probably going to have stricter abortion laws and blue states are going to have looser abortion laws.”

And then there is the ‘Stranger Things’ factor, said J. Miles Coleman of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Every election cycle has at least one “Who’da thunk it?” outcome. For 2020, it was Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, surviving; in 2018, it was Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., being booted from office in a national Democrat year, Coleman said.

One potential Senate race surprise could be in Colorado, where Democrat Sen. Michael Bennett is fending off GOP challenger Joe O’Dea.

“Some Republicans think they’ve got a decent shot in Colorado,” Coleman told InsideSources. “We think Michael Bennett is likely to win, but not safe. The GOP nominee there has tried to frame himself as a Republican version of Joe Manchin. Michael Bennett is not as much of a brand in Colorado.”

The UVA Center for Politics’ Crystal Ball ranks Georgia and Nevada as the outright tossups in November. It scores North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio as leaning Republican while Arizona, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania are leaning Democrat.

“Leaning” counts as less than “likely,” on the rating scale.

The Cook Political Report rates four Senate races as tossups: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Cook, meanwhile, counts Arizona, Colorado, and New Hampshire as leaning Democrat, while putting Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio in the leaning Republican category.

Of the major prognosticators, FiveThirtyEight takes the dimmest view of GOP chances, giving Democrats a two-thirds chance of maintaining control of the Senate based on its statistical modeling.

Among the most closely watched races in Pennsylvania, for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, which presents a pickup opportunity for Democrats.

“If the Republicans win in Pennsylvania, it is all but guaranteed that they will win control of the Senate,” O’Connell said. “There are a number of permutations and combinations that could give Republicans the gavel in the upper chamber without Pennsylvania, but a win in the Keystone State affords them the best opportunity for control.”

Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee there, has closed the gap with Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. But Coleman believes the race is still Fetterman’s to lose.

“Oz’s unfavorables are terrible,” Coleman said. “Fetterman’s unfavorables have gone up, but Oz’s unfavorables are about 50 percent. That’s hard to overcome.”

Of the seven races, New Hampshire is widely viewed as the least likely to flip to the Republicans. Even GOP Gov. Chris Sununu’s expected double-digit victory would not be enough to lift Republican challenger Don Bolduc over incumbent Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan, Coleman said.

“Sununu will likely win, but New Hampshire voters like to split their tickets,” Coleman said. “The Senate Leadership Fund is still spending money there. So, Republicans are not giving up.”

Jones is not so sure. As a former state legislative leader, he sees the popularity of Republican governors as a significant force in these elections. For example, a strong victory by Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp over Democrat challenger Stacey Abrams could be enough to lift embattled Senate nominee Herschel Walker to victory over Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock.

“Gov. Kemp has been up by as much as 8 points. I can’t imagine a world where voters are voting for Kemp and Warnock,” Jones said.

As inflation continues to hit voters in their pocketbooks and President Joe Biden struggles in the polls, some Republicans see the potential of a red wave that could even reach the very blue states of Vermont and Washington, where GOP candidates are in striking distance in polls. But O’Connell is doubtful.

“Stranger things have happened, but for the GOP to pick up Senate seats in Vermont and Washington, the floodgates would really have to open up,” O’Connell said. “I’m not saying those races don’t merit our attention, but the most important races with less than 30 days to go are—Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.

“In recent weeks the Democrats have backtracked on the map and poured more resources into both Senate and House races that they weren’t as focused on over the summer. That’s a good sign for Republicans.”

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