It’s common for candidates to lose Donald Trump’s approval in a Republican primary and hope to prove him wrong.
Asked about Trump’s endorsement of primary rival Dr. Mehmet Oz, Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate David McCormick and his backers seemed unconcerned about provoking Trump, announcing victory was inevitable and the approval was a miscalculation.
McCormick “will be the next senator from Pennsylvania,” Trump’s senior aide, Jeff Roe, tweeted moments after Trump announced his Oz endorsement.
The Relationships Factor
The former president’s choice, Oz, was revealed by Trump’s spokesman, Jeff Roe.
However, Allegheny County GOP Chairman Sam DiMarco says Trump’s endorsement will not “change the dynamics of this race.”
Former Bridgewater CEO David McCormick has to quickly readjust his strategy for the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania after Trump’s surprise endorsement of rival Mehmet Oz https://t.co/FUx8zdqtIA
— Bloomberg (@business) April 11, 2022
McCormick, 56, a former soldier and hedge fund executive, is chucking millions of his wealth into the race. Some Pennsylvania Republicans doubt it.
A GOP operative in Philadelphia, Josh Novatney, said McCormick would have to change his strategy to win the election.
“With Trump’s endorsement, all of his money spent proclaiming Oz as a [Republican in name only] vanished in two seconds. He may either keep attacking Oz or redefine himself.”
Trump endorsed Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary. So, the former president had to choose a new candidate in November.
Despite Pennsylvania Republicans’ confusion, GOP insiders close to Trump say Trump’s choice was on-brand. Oz is a long-time personal friend of Trump.
Mehmet Oz old show helping people understand transgender: “This extraordinary condition is not as rare as you might think. It’s estimated as many as 3 million Americans believe they were born the wrong sex. Trans shakes up all of our ideas about what makes us male or female.” pic.twitter.com/4aN0Xsiuqt
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) April 10, 2022
Trump’s lengthy endorsement statement Saturday reflected their friendship. “He was always popular, respected, and smart, even before the screen.”
Oz, 61, is a heart surgeon who became famous for a broadcast television show he presented for many years.
Trump’s spokesman refused to comment.
Several prominent Republicans, including talk radio host John Fredricks, Fox News primetime host Sean Hannity, former Secretary of Power Rick Perry, and Pennsylvania Reps. Fred Keller and Guy Reschenthaler, have endorsed Oz.
The Oz campaign disputes this premise.
Support and Opposition
Many leading figures associated with Trump are backing McCormick.
This includes former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, former Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and proponent and Pennsylvania politics expert David Urban.
According to Republican insiders familiar with his decision, Trump was primarily inspired to back Oz by his wife, former First Lady Melania Trump, and a crucial informal adviser, Sean Hannity.
Besides, Republicans familiar with his campaign say McCormick never expected Trump to endorse him, but that didn’t stop him from visiting Mar-a-Lago last week.
According to McCormick’s team, these declarations and past positions are far more damaging to Oz, who relocated from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to run for the Senate, than his claim that McCormick is a stooge for Beijing.
This was an allegation made because McCormick’s hedge fund, Bridgewater Affiliates, invested heavily in China. Others say Trump’s endorsement gives Oz a chance, if not the edge, in the GOP primary.
It will undoubtedly boost Oz’s poll numbers, but it will also give him a share of Republicans who are still undecided, a group that has been leaning toward McCormick up until now.
Is this enough?