Sen. Casey Announces Reelection Run While Republicans Scramble To Find A Candidate

WILKES-BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES - 2022/10/09: US Senator Bob Casey Jr. (Photo by Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) officially announced Monday that he will run for reelection to his seat in 2024, an expected but welcome weight-off for Democrats who have to defend a battery of competitive seats this cycle. 

“Folks, I’m running for re-election,” he wrote on Twitter. “There’s still more work to do to cut through the gridlock, stand up to powerful special interests, and make the lives of hardworking Pennsylvanians easier.”

The attached video shows Casey setting up his map of the 67 Pennsylvania counties, a nod to the online fame he’s enjoyed in recent election cycles when he breaks down election results with his easel-mounted maps, a low-rent and Pennsylvania-centric version of glossy cable news analysis.

Casey is the longest-serving U.S. senator in Pennsylvania history, and has never had a competitive Senate election. He won his last one in 2018 by 13 points. 

A mild-mannered, lowkey lawmaker who rarely travels through the Capitol with staff, he’s also the son of a two-term Pennsylvania governor. He’s close with President Joe Biden as a fellow son of Scranton, and has long carried the distinction of being one of the last anti-abortion Democrats — though in recent years that started to shift, at least on a policy level. He said he’d vote for a law codifying Roe v. Wade last year.

He announced that he’d been diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year, though he’s since undergone surgery and doesn’t expect to need further treatment. 

Republicans, meanwhile, have been casting about to find someone who can solve a problem that’s been increasingly plaguing the party: a candidate who can win a primary by appealing to the hard-right base, but who won’t then be turned back by the more moderate tastes of a general election constituency.

So far, Republicans keep raising the name of former hedge fund CEO David McCormick — who lost to TV doctor Mehmet Oz in the 2022 primary — as their top-tier pick. McCormick has deep pockets and the ability to self fund, though those financial resources couldn’t win him the primary last time, as Oz snuck by him with less than one percentage point. Oz ultimately lost to now-Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA).

McCormick is still making up his mind, as various organs of the Republican establishment try to lure him in with the promise of a more comprehensive backing than he had last time. 

Such a carrot could be complicated by a primary challenger that disregards the needs and wants of the party — someone like former state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), the Christian nationalist who got smoked by now-Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) in 2022 and helped Democrats paint the Republican ticket as far-right extremists. Mastriano is expected to run, and said he’d win a Republican Senate primary “hands down.”  

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