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Fox News
Fox News
30 Sep 2023


As they aim to flip a Democratic-held Senate seat in a crucial battleground state in 2024, the Pennsylvania GOP is working to prevent a repeat of last year's crowded and combustible primary. 

Pennsylvania Republican committee members unanimously endorsed Dave McCormick Saturday as their party's nominee in next year's showdown against longtime Democratic Sen. Bob Casey. The race could ultimately decide whether the GOP wins back the Senate majority.

"I am deeply humbled to receive the unanimous endorsement of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania. United as one, Republicans across Pennsylvania will win. We will defeat Bob Casey and bring strong leadership to Washington on behalf of the commonwealth," McCormick said as he accepted the state party's endorsement as it met in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

McCormick, a former hedge fund executive, West Point graduate, Gulf War combat veteran and Treasury Department official in former President George W. Bush’s administration, earlier this month launched his second straight campaign for the Senate. 

REPUBLICAN MCCORMICK LAUNCHES SENATE BID IN KEY BATTLEGROUND STATE IN CRUCIAL RACE

Republican Dave McCormick launches his second straight Senate campaign in Pennsylvania

Republican David McCormick is joined by his wife Dina Powell as he arrives at the Heinz History Center to announce he will enter Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race and make his second bid for the office, this time against Democrat Bob Casey, Sept. 21, 2023, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

McCormick had been courted by national and state Republicans to run, and his candidacy gives the GOP a high-profile candidate with the ability to finance his own race that's expected to be one of the most expensive in the country.

The Pennsylvania GOP's endorsement will likely help McCormick avoid a crowded and combustible battle for the 2024 GOP Senate nomination like the one he faced last year. McCormick ended up losing the nomination by a razor-thin margin to celebrity doctor and cardiac surgeon Mehmet Oz, who secured a primary victory thanks to a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Oz ended up losing the general election in November to Democrat John Fetterman.

"It's a gut check," McCormick said, referring to last year's narrow primary defeat.

BLUE TO RED: FOUR SENATE SEATS THE GOP AIMS TO FLIP TO WIN THE MAJORITY IN 2024

The Pennsylvania GOP stayed neutral in last year's Senate nomination battle, and its unusually early endorsement of McCormick this time around is notable.

McCormick, soon after he announced his candidacy, also won praise from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), the campaign arm of the Senate GOP.

Sen. Bob Casey

Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., D-Pa., leaves the Capitol after a vote April 18, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Casey, who served a decade as the state's auditor general and then treasurer before winning election to the Senate in 2006, is not expected to face any serious primary challenge for the Democratic nomination. Casey, the son of a popular former governor, is running for a fourth six-year term in the Senate.

CHECK OUT THE FOX NEWS POWER RANKINGS IN THE BATTLE FOR THE SENATE

McCormick on Saturday once again took aim at Casey, telling the crowd it lives in "one of the most consequential great states in this country, and we have one of the least consequential senators."

He charged that Casey "has done virtually nothing" during his years in office and emphasized that the senator's "voted lockstep" with President Biden.

Dave McCormick lands Pennsylvania GOP endorsement in 2024 Senate race

Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick, right, lands the GOP 2024 nomination endorsement Sept. 30, 2023, in Harrisburg. McCormick is joined on stage by state GOP auditor general Timothy DeFoor and treasurer Stacy Garrity. (Dave McCormick campaign )

Senate Democrats are defending their fragile 51-49 majority in next year's elections.

Republicans need a net gain of either one or two seats in 2024 to win back the majority — depending on which party controls the White House after next year’s presidential election. 

The math and the map favor the GOP, as the Democrats are defending 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs, including three in red states and a handful in key general election battlegrounds such as Pennsylvania.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.