Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is projected to ride out Democrat Katie McGinty’s challenge, according to Fox News and the Associated Press, marking a victory Tuesday night for Senate Republicans in one of the tightest battles this election cycle and dashing Democrats’ hopes of retaking the chamber.
Recent polls showed McGinty holding a modest lead, which Toomey overturned on Tuesday night to retain his seat in the Senate and put a damper on Democrats’ hopes of retaking the chamber. TPM’s PollTracker Average showed McGinty leading Toomey 47.4 to 44.3 before returns started coming in late Tuesday.
The race between McGinty and Toomey was the most expensive Senate contest in history, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, surpassing $162 million in spending.
Throughout his re-election campaign, Toomey avoided commenting on the presidential race. In an interview a week before Election Day, he said that he had “a lot of problems with Donald Trump,” but could not vote for Hillary Clinton “under any scenario.”
About an hour before polls closed in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, however, Toomey revealed that he cast his ballot for Trump.
McGinty, on the other hand, said that she was “thrilled” to attend the Democratic National Convention in July, even as many candidates in the highest-profile Senate races across the country avoided the festivities amid controversy over hacked emails from national Democrats that showed them mocking Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign.
One of the most notable moments in Toomey’s campaign came when the daughter of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung appeared in a campaign ad for the Republican senator, applauding his efforts to pass a background check bill in the U.S. Senate as well as the way Toomey “crossed party lines to do the right thing.”
Even though Toomey distanced himself from Trump and touted his bipartisanship, the senator had been targeted by vandals who graffitied homes near his own with slogans smearing Republicans as racist fascists. One message in red spray paint read: “Nazi, Slavers, Rapists, Cross Worshippers = GOP.”