State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) announced that he will not be a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2024 during a Facebook Live conversation on Thursday night.
In a 36-minute presentation, the unsuccessful GOP candidate for Pennsylvania governor last year declined to challenge three-time incumbent Democrat Bob Casey Jr.
“We have decided not to run for the U.S. Senate,” said Mastriano. “(We’ll) continue to serve in Harrisburg. I know this will be disappointing for some. At this moment, the way things are, I am not running for the U.S. Senate seat that is going to be vacated by Casey. We need to beat him.”
He pledged to support whoever the Republican nominee would be, saying “I don’t want any other Republican candidate to go through what we went through last year when our own party betrayed us.”
Mastriano lost the governor’s race to Josh Shapiro in November by 15 percentage points and nearly 800,000 votes.
There has been much speculation that Dave McCormick, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for Senate in 2022 to Mehmet Oz, is prepared to enter the race.
After Mastriano’s announcement, McCormick issued a statement thanking him for his years of military and public service.
“I am seriously considering a run for the U.S. Senate because Bob Casey has consistently made life worse for Pennsylvania families over the past 18 years, and our state deserves better. Casey votes for Biden’s liberal agenda 98% of the time; he is openly hostile to our state’s energy industry, endorses dangerous criminals walking freely on our streets, and is enabling open borders, leading to a terrifying rise in fentanyl deaths in Pennsylvania.
“Throughout my life, I have had the honor to serve and lead, including as a paratrooper in the first gulf war and later while creating hundreds of jobs in Western Pennsylvania. We need a Republican nominee who can build a broad coalition of Pennsylvanians to defeat Bob Casey and improve the lives of Pennsylvania families.”
Republican consultant Charlie Gerow said that it would have been “difficult for Mastriano to make his case to beat Casey,” given last fall’s results.
Berwood Yost, director of the Center For Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College, said “Unless he ran a very different campaign than he ran last fall and adapted his positions a bit to attract more moderate voters, he would have a difficult time beating Senator Casey. Our data shows his candidacy would be less competitive than would a McCormick candidacy at this point.”
“Mastriano has made it clear he and his base will loom large over this primary,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson Maddy McDaniel. “Any candidate who gets in will now be saddled with his extreme agenda, including David McCormick whose ties to China left him damaged in 2022. No matter who runs, Mastriano and his base will ensure any Republican will be completely out of step with the voters who will decide Pennsylvania’s Senate election.”