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Trump fans get first impression of David McCormick at historic rally

PHILADELPHIA — Former President Donald Trump invited Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate David McCormick to speak at his historic Philadelphia rally on Saturday. For many voters, the event was their first substantive exposure to McCormick. With McCormick trailing Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) by 6 percentage points in June polls from Emerson College and Marist College, he […]

PHILADELPHIA — Former President Donald Trump invited Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate David McCormick to speak at his historic Philadelphia rally on Saturday. For many voters, the event was their first substantive exposure to McCormick.

With McCormick trailing Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) by 6 percentage points in June polls from Emerson College and Marist College, he made his case to Trump voters to rally behind him at the polls come November.

“We have one senator who won’t wear a suit and another senator who is an empty suit,” McCormick told the crowd, referring to Sens. John Fetterman (D-PA) and Bob Casey (D-PA), respectively. He slammed President Joe Biden for the record number of southern border crossings and called Bidenomics a “failure.”


Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate David McCormick addresses Trump rally attendees on Saturday, June 22, 2024, at Temple University in Philadelphia. (Peter Cordi/Washington Examiner)

‘A rising tide’: The power of the Trump endorsement

After Trump initially denied McCormick his endorsement in 2022, in a Senate primary race he lost to Mehmet “Dr.” Oz, the former president chose to throw his support behind the military veteran in April.

Most Trump supporters the Washington Examiner interviewed at the Philadelphia rally said they either had not heard of McCormick or knew very little about him before the rally. However, they did have a favorable view of him based on what they did know, especially the fact that he received Trump’s endorsement.

For most rallygoers the Washington Examiner spoke to, Trump’s endorsement holds a lot of weight. As Michael Picard, 35, who was dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit at the rally, put it: “Whatever Trump says, I do.”

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Tyler Cicone, 25, who is in the Navy, said Trump’s endorsement is important to him because it shows the former president “trusts him to not stab him in the back.”

However, one 22-year-old rallygoer named Michael, who asked only to be identified by his first name, said he prefers to do his own research and that Trump’s endorsement does not affect his vote. Owen McLain, 19, an undecided voter from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said that while Trump’s endorsement does hold weight for him, he also prefers to do his own research.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) was endorsed by Trump in his bid for the House of Representatives, and his campaign manager, Melanie Brewer, told the Washington Examiner that McCormick getting Trump’s endorsement is a big deal for lifting support as “a rising tide raises all boats.”

She added that Kelly additionally endorses McCormick and has financially contributed to his campaign.

Alison Dagnes, chairwoman of Shippensburg University’s Department of Political Science, told the Washington Examiner that Trump endorsements “have more power in primary elections when Republicans have to choose” between several candidates.

She said Trump’s endorsement of McCormick “is going to carry some positive weight” but warned that among certain Republican groups who want to see a more “moderate” candidate in the election, “Trump’s endorsement is viewed negatively.”

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Ed Moye, the Republican candidate for the 70th Pennsylvania House District, told the Washington Examiner that McCormick is a “great person” with a “strong message,” and that from their conversations, he can tell that the Senate candidate wants “what’s right for this country and to get us back on track.”

The Washington Examiner reached out to McCormick for comment.

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