The early jockeying in the Republican field has been characterized by most candidates’ efforts to win the support of grass-roots voters who backed former President Donald J. Trump. They include Kathy Barnette, a conservative commentator who has fanned the false conspiracy that Mr. Trump won Pennsylvania in 2020, and Carla Sands, a wealthy former ambassador to Denmark under Mr. Trump, who has promised to “stand up to woke culture, censorship, and critical race theory.” Dr. Mehmet Oz, the heart surgeon and longtime television host, has framed his candidacy as a conservative response to the pandemic, criticizing mandates, shutdowns and actions by “elites” that restricted “our freedom.
Mr. McCormick has his own personal tie to Mr. Trump: His wife, Dina Powell McCormick, served on the National Security Council during the first year of the Trump Administration. The two were married in 2019. Hope Hicks, a former Trump aide, has been advising Mr. McCormick’s team, and other former Trump staffers, including Stephen Miller, are expected to do so, according to Politico.
Five months ahead of the May primary, the field is wide open, especially since the withdrawal in November of Sean Parnell, who was endorsed by Mr. Trump. Mr. Parnell suspended his campaign after losing a custody fight with his estranged wife, who accused him of spousal and child abuse.
Democrats also face a crowded primary contest. Unlike the Republicans, the leading Democrats in the race have experience in elected office. One theme that could animate the general election, depending on who emerges as the G.O.P. nominee, is the issue of who is an authentic Pennsylvanian. Dr. Oz, Ms. Sands and now Mr. McCormick all have roots in the state, but lived elsewhere in recent years and returned to run for Senate.
Ideologically, Republicans promoting Mr. McCormick’s bid have drawn comparisons between him and Glenn Youngkin, the former private equity executive who won the Virginia governor’s race in November by attracting the support of moderates as well as Trump devotees.
Kate Kelly and Trip Gabriel