Doug Mastriano not running for U.S. Senate in 2024. GOP hopes to lure party favorite David McCormick into potential face off against Bob Casey
The former candidate for Pennsylvania Governor announced Thursday he’d not seek the seat, leaving the GOP nomination up for grabs in a crucial 2024 Senate race.
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In a Facebook Live stream on Thursday night, May 25, former candidate for Pennsylvania Governor and state Senator Doug Mastriano officially announced he would not be running for U.S. Senate in 2024.
It’s a decision that the Republican Party would have wanted, who thought Mastriano’s extremist takes on hot topic issues including abortion and immigration, his ordinary political skills, and inability to raise huge funds would have impeded their chances of flipping the Democratic-held seat occupied by longtime Pennsylvania lawmaker Sen. Bob Casey.
Pennsylvania’s favorite politician has won all six of his statewide elections and will be a challenge to be defeated for the battleground Senate seat.
The GOP is looking to dethrone the three-term serving Senator whose re-election bid in the battleground state will be key for Democrats to keep their small majority in the Senate.
"At this time we have decided not to run for Senate, but to continue to serve in Harrisburg," Mastriano said.
Mastriano said he will continue his work in Harrisburg as a state Senator, a seat he’s held since 2019, and would support the future nominee.
"So I know for some that’ll be disappointing. For others, it won’t be disappointing, because you’re like, ‘Who’s going to fill his seat? Who’s going to be our voice in Harrisburg?’ … Whoever is that nominee, I will support them," he added.
Mastriano is coming off a recent big loss in the governor’s race last November by over 14 points against former PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro, which was the largest margin of victory for any nonincumbent governor in the state since 1946.
Several GOP lawmakers in the leadup to Thursday’s announcement had been publicly calling for the former veteran to sit the race out, including State Rep. Russ Diamond in an op-ed titled, “Let’s encourage Doug Mastriano to sit this one out,” published on a conservative news website based in Philly.
“Your appearance at the top of the Republican ticket last year undoubtedly contributed to Republicans losing the majority in the PA House, and I fear a repeat of that in 2024,” Diamond wrote.
The GOP primary field is wide open and the party is currently looking at former business executive David McCormick as the best challenger.
The former hedge fund CEO and combat veteran is the favorite and has already garnered pledges of financial support from top GOP officials, including a super PAC linked to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the National Republican Senatorial Committee to further incentivize the offer.
However, even with McCormick’s potential entry into the race, GOP elected officials, strategists and donors are aware that beating Casey is not an absolute given. Several public and private polls have had Casey leading McCormick.
He’s won all of his Senate elections by double digits and his institutional fame in the state — as the son of the late Gov. Robert Casey, Sr. — will only work in his favor once again, especially for working-class white voters who GOP insiders still think Casey has in his corner.
Democrats will be defending 23 states in 2024, several of them battlegrounds, including Pennsylvania. Republicans are facing reelection in just 11 states, and will only need to flip two Senate seats or one if they take back the Oval Office to take back control of the upper chamber of Congress.
McCormick released a statement shortly after Mastriano’s announcement.
“I am seriously considering a run for the U.S. Senate because Bob Casey has consistently made life worse for Pennsylvania families over the past 18 years, and our state deserves better,” he said. “He is openly hostile to our state’s energy industry, endorses dangerous criminals walking freely on our streets, and is enabling open borders, leading to a terrifying rise in fentanyl deaths in Pennsylvania.”
This prompted a response from Casey’s campaign manager, Tiernan Donohue.
“Bob Casey is a champion for Pennsylvania who has spent his life fighting against the ultra-wealthy and special interests that threaten Pennsylvania’s hardworking people — from countries like China that threaten our jobs, to big insurance companies that are raising our health care costs. Meanwhile, David McCormick is a Connecticut hedge fund executive who got rich outsourcing jobs, laying off workers, and cozying up to China.”
Should McCormick be the GOP nominee for the Senate, he’ll face a potentially tough matchup before Casey against former President Donald Trump, who criticized McCormick during his Senate bid last year, in which he compared him to GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial over his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Trump labeled him a “liberal Wall Street Republican.”