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David McCormick files paperwork to run as GOP Senate primary in Pa. heats up

Pennsylvania’s Senate election this year will be one of the most competitive in the country, with control of the 50-50 chamber up for grabs.
David McCormick, President Bridgewater Associates, speaks on a panel at the annual Skybridge Alternatives Conference (SALT) in Las Vegas
David McCormick, then the president of Bridgewater Associates, speaks on a panel at the Skybridge Alternatives Conference in Las Vegas in May 2015.Rick Wilking / Reuters file

David McCormick, a former hedge fund executive with allies close to former President Donald Trump, filed paperwork Wednesday to run in Pennsylvania’s crowded Republican Senate primary.

The filing with the Federal Election Commission establishes McCormick as a Senate candidate. His political advisers declined to comment.

An official announcement is expected soon.

McCormick, a Gulf War veteran who was a Treasury official in President George W. Bush's administration, had been exploring a bid since last month. He recently resigned as CEO of the investment firm Bridgewater Associates. He has already spent more than $2 million on TV ads introducing himself to voters in the state, where he recently re-established residency.

Pennsylvania’s Senate election this year will be one of the most competitive in the country, with control of the 50-50 chamber up for grabs and Republican incumbent Pat Toomey not seeking a third term. President Joe Biden narrowly beat Trump in the state in 2020.

McCormick joins a GOP field in flux. The previous front-runner, Sean Parnell, a Fox News personality who had scored Trump’s early endorsement, dropped out of the race in November after he lost a custody battle in which he denied accusations that he had abused his wife and children. Mehmet Oz, the TV doctor and political novice who has also been friendly with Trump, declared for the Republican primary days later and has spent more than $2.5 million on ads.

Like Oz, who had lived in New Jersey and only recently registered to vote in Pennsylvania, McCormick is likely to face residency questions. Although he is a Pennsylvania native, he most recently lived in Connecticut before he bought a house in the Pittsburgh area.

Other Republicans in the race are Carla Sands, Trump’s ambassador to Denmark; real estate developer Jeff Bartos, a candidate for lieutenant governor in 2018; conservative commentator Kathy Barnette; and Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto. Democrats also have a crowded primary, with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh among the candidates.

With Parnell out, Trump lingers over the GOP primary as a coveted supporter who could cement a new front-runner. Oz is running with a Trump-like “America first” message. A recent Sands ad shows her at a paper shredder promising to “shred Joe Biden’s agenda.”

McCormick — who was considered for a Pentagon job during Trump’s first term and is married to Dina Powell, who was a deputy national security adviser to the former president — has surrounded himself with veterans of Trump’s political orbit. Hope Hicks and Stephen Miller, two former top White House and Trump campaign aides, are among those advising his Senate bid.

Despite the relationships, McCormick is likely to face questions about his pro-Trump populist bona fides. He has criticized Trump at times, having blamed him last year for his role in inciting the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. And his work with Bridgewater Associates, which managed investments in China, is the subject of an ad from a pro-Oz group, America Leadership Action. McCormick tried to distance himself from the hedge fund’s China portfolio in his final weeks on the job as he was preparing his Senate bid, Bloomberg reported last month.