By Jarrett Renshaw
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick is planning to jump into the U.S. Senate race against three-time Democratic incumbent Bob Casey later this month, two sources familiar with the plans told Reuters.
Soon after he lost last year’s Senate Republican primary against celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, who had the backing of former President Donald Trump, McCormick floated the possibility that he would again seek the party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate.
McCormick will make his formal announcement in Pittsburgh before the end of the month, two sources say.
The decision came after weeks of deliberations. McCormick, 58, had concerns that having Trump at the top of the ticket could be a drag, making it more difficult to oust Casey, 63, sources said. The popular sitting Democratic senator, whose father was a Pennsylvania governor, has won three state-wide elections.
McCormick spokesperson Elizabeth Gregory did not respond to requests for comment.
U.S. Senate Republicans focused on McCormick as part of their efforts to line up high-quality candidates for next year's elections after untested candidates with fringe views cost them seats in 2022. Republicans believe he is moderate enough to appeal to suburbanites and stable enough to help other candidates on the ticket.
Oz lost to Democrat John Fetterman by 5%, a large margin in a competitive state like Pennsylvania and the party’s hard-right gubernatorial nominee, also backed by Trump, lost by 15%.
In recent days, Sam DeMarco, the Allegheny County Republican chairman and McCormick ally, has circulated a letter of support for McCormick featuring the state party chair, the party’s two national committee representatives and 36 of 67 county party chairs.
The Democratic Party has treated McCormick as the Republican nominee, already attacking his record in business and his opposition to abortion rights.
(Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Heather Timmons and Chizu Nomiyama)