Trump makes major endorsement in crucial Senate race in key battleground state

Former President Donald Trump is backing Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick in Pennsylvania – after throwing his support to a different candidate during McCormick’s first run for the Senate two years ago.

‘I am officially giving my endorsement to David McCormick tonight. He’s a good a man. He wants to run a good ship. He’s a smart guy, who was a very successful guy. He’s given up a lot to do this,’ Trump declared on Saturday, as he spoke at a large rally in Schnecksville, 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, launched his second Senate bid last year. He’s running unopposed in the crucial battleground state’s April 23 primary and will face off in November against longtime Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

‘I’ll tell you what: He’s the nominee of the Republican Party, David McCormick. Go out and vote for him because Casey doesn’t do a damn thing,’ Trump emphasized.

Casey, the son of a popular former governor, served a decade as Pennsylvania’s auditor general and then treasurer before winning election to the Senate in 2006.

The Senate race in Pennsylvania is one of a handful across the country that will likely decide if the Republicans win back the majority in the chamber.

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.

McCormick was not at Saturday’s rally. His campaign told Fox News the candidate had a previously scheduled family commitment that he made long before Trump recently announced his rally in Schnecksville, which is located in the Lehigh Valley, a highly competitive part of the northeastern swing state.

Following the rally, McCormick thanked Trump for the endorsement in a social media post.

‘Thank you, President Trump,’, he said. ‘Together we will deliver a big win for Pennsylvania and America in November.’

McCormick 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 Trump. Oz ended up losing the general election to Democrat John Fetterman.

‘I don’t know David well, and he may be a nice guy, but he’s not MAGA,’ Trump said of McCormick at the time, as he referred to his legions of Make America Great Again loyalists and supporters.

This time around, McCormick faces no major opposition in the GOP primary. He is backed by longtime Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and 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’s visit to Pennsylvania is his third this year. He made a Feb. 9 stop in Harrisburg to address NRA members gathered at the group’s Great American Outdoor Show. Days later, he made an unusual stop in Philadelphia at ‘Sneaker Con’ – a major trade show – to hawk new Trump-branded sneakers. 

Pennsylvania is one of six battleground states where Biden narrowly edged Trump in the presidential election four years ago to capture the White House.

Most of the latest public opinion polls in Pennsylvania suggest a close contest between Biden and Trump for the state’s 19 electoral votes.

The president returns to the state where he was born on Tuesday, for three days of events in Pennsylvania, where his political advisers say Biden aims to spotlight his plans to raise taxes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations as he paints contrasts with Trump on economic issues.

Biden kicks off the three-day swing with a speech in Scranton, where he spent part of his childhood. The president has repeatedly returned to the working-class city in northeastern Pennsylvania as he’s made populist pitches to Americans.

The president will head to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, followed by a campaign event Thursday in Philadelphia. Biden’s swing through Pennsylvania will come as Trump makes history as the first current or former president in the nation’s history to go on trial.

Trump’s hush-money trial will get underway Monday in a New York City courtroom.

The former president – who is being tried on 34 state felony charges – is accused of falsifying business records in relation to hush-money payments during the 2016 election he made to Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about his alleged affair with the adult film actress.

Trump has repeatedly denied falsifying business records as well as the alleged sexual encounter with Daniels.

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