Crucial Senate showdown in key battleground state officially underway as Casey, McCormick win primaries

It’s officially game on in Pennsylvania, as Republican candidate Dave McCormick and Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. were projected the winners of the two major party Senate primaries in the northeastern battleground state.

Both candidates, who were unopposed in Tuesday’s Democratic and GOP primaries, will now face off in a high-profile and expensive Senate showdown that is one of a handful across the country which will likely decide whether the GOP wins back the Senate majority.

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, is making his second straight bid for the Senate.


Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick launches a campaign bus tour, in Lititz, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 10, 2024 (Dave McCormick campaign)

He was part of a crowded and combustible battle for the 2022 GOP nomination. He 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 to then-Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

This time around, McCormick faced no major opposition in the GOP primary. He was backed last year by longtime Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell as well as the Pennsylvania GOP, and was encouraged to run by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is the party’s Senate campaign arm.


McCormick endorsed Trump early last month after the former president scored major victories in the coast to coast Super Tuesday contests and Nikki Haley – Trump’s last remaining rival for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination – dropped out of the White House race.

Trump, the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, returned the favor earlier this month, endorsing McCormick.

Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, speaks during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on Thursday, March 9, 2023.  Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Casey, the son of a popular former governor, is running for a fourth six-year term in the Senate. He served a decade as Pennsylvania’s auditor general and then treasurer before winning election to the Senate in 2006.

The most recent public opinion polls indicate Casey holding a single-digit advantage over McCormick.

Democrats currently control the U.S. Senate with a 51-49 majority, but Republicans are looking at a favorable Senate map this year, with Democrats defending 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs.

Three of those seats are in red states that Trump carried in his 2020 election defeat to President Biden — Ohio, Montana and West Virginia, where Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin is not running for re-election. And Pennsylvania is one of five key general election battlegrounds where the Democrats are defending seats. Democrats may also have to worry about holding the open Senate seat in blue Maryland, where former GOP Gov. Larry Hogan is running.

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. 

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