Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dave McCormick was energized by 67-county tour

By Salena Zito
Washington Examiner
June 10, 2024

MATAMORAS, Pennsylvania — Combat veteran Dave McCormick, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) this year, said that during his 67-county bus tour, he has learned a lot about what is important to voters across the state.

McCormick said that talking with voters in places where few statewide candidates stop to listen to their concerns is energizing and motivating. He said everyone has a story and that grit, entrepreneurship, and perseverance are common characteristics of Pennsylvanians. He said government policies seem designed to drag them down or crush that spirit.

“I saw over and over again a constant set of problems that America is not working and that the [Biden] policies aren’t working for the majority of Pennsylvanians, and I saw that and heard that across our commonwealth,” the former hedge manager and Columbia County native said. “The two big things are inflation and border, which are having profound, tangible effects on how people live their lives every day.”

McCormick’s last stop of the bus tour was Goodfella’s Pizza Italian Restaurant here in Pike County. He said a stunning number of Pennsylvanians have told him they are living paycheck to paycheck.

“The inflation is squeezing them on food, fuel, and rent,” he said.

McCormick’s observations weren’t wrong. While the percentage claiming to live paycheck to paycheck nationwide is at 61%, in Pennsylvania, the latest numbers show that over 41% of people in the state are in such circumstances. Recent wage growth is failing to keep up with inflation and other problems faced by Pennsylvania households, according to a new report from the United Way of Pennsylvania and research partner United for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

McCormick said too many people are possibly one emergency room visit or one failed transmission from poverty and that “people are struggling to afford basic necessities.”

McCormick also said the open border is having a lot of negative consequences, “beginning but not exclusively including the fentanyl crisis, which affects every single one of those 67 counties.”

More than 3,000 Pennsylvanians died from drug overdoses last year, a vast majority of them related to the highly potent and synthetic opioid fentanyl, according to the state’s Opioid Data Dashboard. Nationwide statistics show that 90% of opioid-related deaths in this country involve fentanyl, which is smuggled into the United States along the southern border.

“These problems and the weak leadership and policies, in my opinion, of President Biden, with Bob Casey supporting him 98% of the time, are hurting Pennsylvanians,” McCormick said. In 2021 and 2022, Casey voted with Biden 99.5% of the time, according to the now-defunct website FiveThirtyEight.

In his 67-county tour of the state, which has been a mainstay in Pennsylvania politics in both parties for decades, McCormick logged over 42,000 travel miles. McCormick said he loves the unique personalities of each of the state’s counties, “whether it’s the timber industry or whether it’s powdered metals in St. Mary’s or whether it’s the dairy industry in Susquehanna County, you see, in each of these areas, different industries, different key businesses that make so many things vital to our daily lives.”

He said the state is blessed with natural resources “and natural beauty. It is also uniquely blessed with this incredible history of where America was born and all the great pieces of history, from the Civil War to the Revolutionary War, to the French and Indian War, to the inventions, to being the industrial heart of America.”

McCormick said he believes this election will fall on the will of middle-class voters of all races and heritages.

“Their problems are centered on inflation, the crisis with fentanyl on the open border. These are problems that affect all Pennsylvanians. They are not Republican problems, Democrat problems. They’re not black problems, white problems. They’re everybody’s problem,” he said.

“Having you listen to them is very important to voters,” he said. “If you look at the last three years under President Biden, people are much worse off. They see it, and they feel it. Economically, they’re really struggling,” he said.