Who is David McCormick? Here are 5 things to know about Bob Casey's possible GOP opponent

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A long-rumored challenger to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania has made it official.

U.S. Army veteran and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick formally declared his bid for Casey's seat Thursday at an event in Pittsburgh. The election is to be held in November of next year.

"My opponent is a rubber stamp," McCormick said in prepared remarks.

"More to the point, he is Joe Biden’s rubber stamp.  When Joe Biden says jump, Bob Casey says how high. When Joe Biden says vote, Bob Casey says, ‘Which way?' And when Joe Biden comes calling, Bob Casey comes running."

Here are five things to know about the candidate, who is the lone Republican to announce a 2024 campaign against Casey thus far.

McCormick's Pennsylvania ties

McCormick was born in Washington, Pennsylvania, and attended high school in Bloomsburg.

"My grandfather was a Democratic commissioner during the FDR era in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, and my parents, both teachers, were the children of New Deal Democrats," McCormick writes in his book, "Super Power in Peril: A Battle Plan to Renew America."

"But the times and the political landscape changed. Though we still hold the same values, those values are now more at home in the Republican Party."

McCormick is a graduate of both the U.S. Military Academy and Princeton University and holds an honorary degree from Dickinson College. He joined FreeMarkets, a Pittsburgh-based software and services company, in the late 1990s and as CEO sold the company in 2004 for nearly $500 million.

White House stints

In 2005, McCormick received U.S. Senate confirmation to become the undersecretary for export administration in the Commerce Department of President George W. Bush. Two years later, McCormick was a participant in the 2007 G7 summit with former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

McCormick writes about this experience, and extensively about U.S.-China relations, in his book.

"The Bush administration aspired for China to become a 'responsible stakeholder' in the international system," McCormick wrote. "As I came to see, China had no intention of following through on this aspiration. ... China regularly reneged on its commitments to economic reform, whether around the role of state-owned enterprises, market access to key industries, or intellectual property protections."

His second wife, Dina Powell McCormick, also has ties to the Bush administration. She was appointed assistant to the president for presidential personnel in 2003, the youngest person to ever serve in the role.

In 2017 she served a stint as deputy national security adviser under President Donald Trump before returning to work for the multinational investment bank Goldman Sachs.

What's a hedge fund?

For more than a decade, McCormick himself was an executive with the investment firm Bridgewater Associates, considered America's largest hedge fund.

According to investopedia.com, hedge funds only accept money from investors with an annual income of more than $200,000. Hedge fund managers invest in currencies, derivatives, land, real estate and stocks.

McCormick earned a salary of about $22 million before leaving Bridgewater.

Just last year McCormick sought to fill the seat being vacated by the retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). McCormick narrowly lost the GOP primary to Dr. Mehmet Oz, who went on to be defeated by Democrat John Fetterman.

In the 2024 race, McCormick is widely expected to have the financial backing of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC linked to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

David McCormick speaks during a campaign stop in Lititz, Pa., on May 13, 2022, while campaigning for U.S. Senate. The former hedge fund is the favorite of Republican Party leaders and has drawn pledges of financial support from top GOP officials.
David McCormick speaks during a campaign stop in Lititz, Pa., on May 13, 2022, while campaigning for U.S. Senate. The former hedge fund is the favorite of Republican Party leaders and has drawn pledges of financial support from top GOP officials.

Democratic criticisms

Anticipating this second run at a U.S. Senate seat, the opposition party has remained on the offensive against McCormick.

Pennsylvania Democrats have pointed out that, as reported by the Associated Press, McCormick rents a $16-million mansion on Connecticut's Gold Coast and questioned how much time he spends at his Pittsburgh residence. They've also criticized him for his background with the hedge fund, where he invested billions of dollars for the Chinese government.

“The real David McCormick is a mega-millionaire Connecticut hedge fund executive who is lying about living in Pennsylvania, and has spent his life looking out for himself and his rich friends at the expense of working families," Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson Maddy McDaniel said in a press response to the candidate's announcement event.

Does Trump endorse McCormick?

McCormick has also taken fire from perhaps the most influential Republican in the country.

While running for Senate in 2022, McCormick was snubbed by Trump in favor of Oz in the GOP primary. The former president told supporters in May 2022 that McCormick managed money for communist China and questioned his "Make America Great Again" credentials.

"He is absolutely the candidate of special interests and globalists and the Washington establishment," Trump said.

To date Trump has not made any statements about McCormick's latest bid for the Senate. State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who received Trump's endorsement for governor a year ago, had also been linked to the race against Casey, but Mastriano announced in May that he'd decided against a congressional bid.

More recently, Mastriano said he had a meeting with McCormick and indicated that he'd support him if he wins the GOP primary.

Bruce Siwy is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. He can be reached at bsiwy@gannett.com or on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @BruceSiwy.

This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: Who is David McCormick, U.S. Senate candidate in PA?