Trump Just Did David McCormick a Big Favor

 

Former President Donald Trump hasn’t hidden his ambition for another return to the White House. Short of an announcement, he’s strongly hinted that his supporters will “like” his eventual announcement. His poll numbers look good right now.

Meanwhile, according to Ballotpedia, Trump has issued 442 political endorsements since leaving office. That includes 14 gubernatorial candidates and 16 US Senate contests. He previously endorsed author Sean Parnell for the GOP nomination for US Senate. But Parnell dropped out after losing an ugly child custody case to his ex-wife.

US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) helped David McCormick launch his US Senate campaign on January 25th. Cruz finished a distant second to Trump in Pennsylvania’s 2016 presidential primary.

Trump’s latest endorsement is celebrity TV doctor and longtime New Jersey resident Dr. Mehmet Oz. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania medical school, he moved in with his inlaws in 2020 to claim Pennsylvania residency. He’s running a well-funded and slick campaign thus far and led in some early polling. But the latest polls show Oz tied with former Bush 43 Administration Treasury official, hedge fund manager, and Bloomsberg, Pennsylvania native David McCormick.

In recent polling, McCormick is tied or leads by as many as 6 points, with more GOP primary voters undecided.

McCormick’s campaign responded with an endorsement from former two-term Pennsylvania US Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Trump captured – stole – many of the themes from Santorum’s 2014 book, “Blue Collar Conservative,” for his own successful 2016 campaign. Trump proved a stronger messenger for Santorum’s themes than Santorum.

McCormick reportedly met twice with Trump in recent weeks to win his endorsement. To no avail, obviously. But McCormick isn’t without his own impressive endorsements, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and future Arkansas governor and former Trump White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. And while many think Trump’s endorsement of Oz may help, it is more of a death blow to the nascent campaign of Trump’s former US Ambassador to Denmark, the estimable Carla Sands. She enjoys a lengthy list of endorsements, including former House Speaker and former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and an impressive array of state officials and fellow former ambassadors.

There are other good candidates in the race. They include real estate developer and 2018 Lieutenant Governor nominee Jeff Bartos (he lost that year to the likely Democratic nominee for US Senate in 2022, John Fetterman, a former state chair for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign). Bartos enjoys strong endorsements, as does Kathy Barnett, an impressive African-American candidate from the Philadelphia suburbs. But Oz and McCormick are sucking all the oxygen – and money – out of the room.

At least for now. About five weeks before the May 17 primary, there’s the potential for a third candidate to emerge as an alternative if voters sour on a bitter Oz vs. McCormick contest. It’s happened before, and Sands, Bartos, Barnette, and Philadelphia attorney George Bochetto are undoubtedly hoping to capture lightning in a bottle. They’ll need a breakthrough issue and more money. Good luck.

I’m betting Trump’s endorsement will not help Oz. While Trump may continue to enjoy strong support in the Keystone State, Oz’s flaws are likely to prove too fatal for this attempted rescue.

Trump may be betting that his endorsement will elevate Oz’s poll numbers and score a huge triumph for each. But reporters and others are likely to ask why Trump chose carpetbagger Oz over someone who not only was offered a senior position in his Administration as Deputy Secretary of Defense but for whom McCormick’s wife, Dina Powell, served as a former Deputy National Security Advisor? They may find out that Oz agreed more with Trump on relitigating Trump’s 2020 “stolen election” claims. While there is plenty and growing evidence of misfeasance and even malfeasance in some 2020 election states, including Pennsylvania, it is not a winning issue in the upcoming elections.

Further, Trump’s endorsements haven’t always translated to electoral success. Just ask US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), trailing so badly in the Alabama US Senate primary that Trump “unendorsed” him, weirdly calling him “woke.” Or former US Senator David Perdue, trailing badly in his primary contest against incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia.

Oz has polling and perception problems of his own. A Public Opinion Strategies poll – one of the nation’s leading GOP polling firms – shows that many Pennsylvania Republicans view him unfavorably.

Oz’s favorable image stood at 37% favorable and 49% unfavorable, a near-complete reversal since January.

About 29% of GOP primary voters view Oz as “liberal” on issues versus 17% who say he is conservative. Another 56% say Oz is more liberal than they are versus 7% who say he is more conservative. Both scales have flipped on Oz since January.

Author and journalist Selena Zito recently wrote about why McCormick is defeating Oz for the New York Post, covering a campaign event for the West Point graduate and Gulf War veteran.

“In the crowd were Deborah Young and her husband, Ed Nesbel, who have gone to events hosted by the other candidates, including Dr. Oz. Young admits she was impressed by Oz’s stage presence, but she was drawn to McCormick’s charm.

“‘Nothing he said was a laundry list of talking points that he had memorized,’ said Young of McCormick.

“He is a warrior, a happy warrior, despite everything that is going on in the world,” said Ed Nesbel (pictured with wife Deborah Young) about McCormick after attending the candidate’s event in Butler, Penn.
“He is a warrior, a happy warrior, despite everything that is going on in the world,” said Ed Nesbel (pictured with wife Deborah Young) about McCormick after attending the candidate’s event in Butler, Penn.

“His approach is wildly different to Dr. Oz, who is known for breezy tour de forces that often leave voters feeling like they had visited the set of ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show.’

“‘There was a lot of show and music with Dr. Oz,’ said Eric Lasure, a supervisor at Guy Chemical and a Mennonite pastor, after both men came to events in his hometown of Somerset Township.

“‘That is nice and all, but I need to know if a candidate shares my values before I give them my vote,’ Lasure said, adding that he is leaning McCormick’s way.”

Pennsylvania is also home to many food manufacturers, especially snack foods made by companies such as Herr’s, Utz, and Hershey’s, among other legendary home-grown companies like HJ Heinz (now Kraft Heinz), Snyder’s Pretzels (now part of the snack foods division of Campbell Soup), and Hanover. Food industry workers remember Oz’s well-televised attacks against food industry practices, including the use of genetically modified ingredients that help increase yields. As supply-chain disruptions and now Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine is driving food inflation and shortages, this doesn’t play well.

And a large percentage of these mostly-rural food workers are Republicans.

“Pennsylvania leads the nation in food-processing companies, with more than 2,300 operating across the state. The strength of the food-processing sector supports Pennsylvania’s leading-state status in the value of shipments of canned fruit and vegetable specialty products, chocolate and cocoa products, potato chips, and pretzels. Our dairy industry ranks second in the country in butter production and the top 10 in cheese and milk production,” writes the commonwealth’s Department of Community and Economic Development.

Pennsylvania also has the nation’s fifth-largest wine industry. And they probably don’t take well to blue wine, also hawked on Oz’s show.

As a former Pennsylvania resident and voter (and food industry executive) of nearly 20 years, I learned that Keystone State voters take their politics and their politicians seriously. They expect them to be experienced and relatable. The two most recent GOP US Senators were the studious Pat Toomey, retiring this year, and uber-legislator Santorum, who rose to the third-highest ranking leadership post in the US Senate. Santorum also won 11 state primaries as the runner-up to Mitt Romney for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2012. Both were Pennsylvania natives (Santorum, while born in Winchester, Virginia, moved as a young child to Pennsylvania) with deeply personal and political roots in the Commonwealth. Both worked their way up politically and proved their mettle before winning Senate seats. That matters here. No, I won’t mention the late party-switching single-bullet-theory US Senator Who Shall Not Be Named.

Outsiders and carpetbaggers do not fare well in Pennsylvania politics. And outside endorsements, even from a popular former President for them, won’t work, either. And when McCormick wins the primary on May 17th, his failure to win Trump’s endorsement may help win back key suburban voters in places like Chester County in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Regular readers know that I voted twice for Trump, enthusiastically in 2020. And if he’s the nominee in 2024, I’ll vote for him again. But Trump’s endorsement was ill-advised if meant to help Oz. It is more likely to help David McCormick win in November. At least here.

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  1. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Dr. Oz is a nightmare candidate and Trump’s endorsement is a head scratcher. Endorsements are one of Trump’s great blind spots.

    Dr. Oz did a whole episode promoting transgender children – including surgery

    He tried to cover it up, but it was archived.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S0Si8zEkyjY&feature=youtu.be

    And he’s been a Covid cultist through and through. 

    This was badly done. 

    • #1
  2. Kelly D Johnston Coolidge
    Kelly D Johnston
    @SoupGuy

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Dr. Oz is a nightmare candidate and Trump’s endorsement is a head scratcher. Endorsements are one of Trump’s great blind spots.

    Dr. Oz did a whole episode promoting transgender children – including surgery

    He tried to cover it up, but it was archived.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S0Si8zEkyjY&feature=youtu.be

    And he’s been a Covid cultist through and through.

    This was badly done.

    Thanks for sharing that. I was unaware of either the mask tweet or his embrace of transgenderism. 

    • #2
  3. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    I know, I know. It’s the 3d chess thing. 

    Could this be reverse never psychology ?

    Just trying to rationalize this.  

    • #3
  4. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    I’ll be honest, I think Trump was robbed in 2020, and election integrity is an absolutely vital issue.  But it’s not nearly on the minds of voters as Bidenflation and ridiculous gas prices and the country feeling like a dumpster fire.   

    I wish Trump would back election integrity groups rather than going for endorsements solely on election integrity or even re-litigating 2020.  Election integrity is a behind the scenes deal.

    • #4
  5. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Kelly D Johnston: …Kathy Barnett, an impressive African-American candidate from the Philadelphia suburbs.

    I heard her on Andrew Wilkow’s show.  She really is outatanding.

    Oz is not pro-life.  He is a quack.

     

     

    • #5
  6. hoowitts Coolidge
    hoowitts
    @hoowitts

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Dr. Oz is a nightmare candidate and Trump’s endorsement is a head scratcher. Endorsements are one of Trump’s great blind spots.

    Dr. Oz did a whole episode promoting transgender children – including surgery

    He tried to cover it up, but it was archived.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S0Si8zEkyjY&feature=youtu.be

    And he’s been a Covid cultist through and through.

    This was badly done.

    Oz is filled with with many such Oprahesque,  platitudinal drivel…

    You are spot-on Vince – this endorsement will not age well. It isn’t disqualifying but certainly puts another checkmark in Trump’s questionable judge of character column for endorsements.

    • #6
  7. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    If DJT had been a good judge of people, he’d have been effective in office. Lesson learned.

    • #7
  8. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    Barfly (View Comment):

    If DJT had been a good judge of people, he’d have been effective in office. Lesson learned.

    Point to the pool of people he had available that truly behind his agenda.  The executive is enormous . There simply is no way to vet these people with out the support of the party. Trump not only did not have support of the party but they overtly and covertly worked against him. 

    This is essentially the problem with every outsider office holder.  The collective just won’t abide you. 

     

    • #8
  9. Kelly D Johnston Coolidge
    Kelly D Johnston
    @SoupGuy

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    I know, I know. It’s the 3d chess thing.

    Could this be reverse never psychology ?

    Just trying to rationalize this.

    The thought crossed my mind per the last paragraph of my post. I wouldn’t rule it out.

    • #9
  10. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Sadly, it may be that TV Star Trump endorsed TV Star Oz because he’s also a TV star.

    • #10
  11. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Outsiders and carpetbaggers do not fare well in Pennsylvania politics.

    People from the other side of the state have an uphill battle in Pennsylvania.

    • #11
  12. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    I rather have a Santorum endorsement than a Trump endorsement in PA. 

    • #12
  13. Kelly D Johnston Coolidge
    Kelly D Johnston
    @SoupGuy

    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) (View Comment):

    I rather have a Santorum endorsement than a Trump endorsement in PA.

    You might be surprised how many Pennsylvania GOP voters have looooong memories about Santorum endorsing Arlen Specter in the 2004 Senate primary, the one where Specter very narrowly defeated US Rep. Pat Toomey. Specter would go on to eventually switch parties and then lose the Democratic primary in 2010 to my then-Congressman, Joe Sestak, in the Democratic primary. Sestak lost to Toomey, but it was close. Many GOP voters have never forgiven Santorum, then a prominent member of the Senate leadership, for his endorsement. Specter tried to return the favor in 2006, but it did little good – Santorum lost badly to current dimwitted Democratic US Senator Bob Casey Jr. 

    • #13
  14. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    This is essentially the problem with every outsider office holder.  The collective just won’t abide you. 

    This is true, but Trump is someone who tends to like the ones who suck up and tell him what he wants to hear – not good qualities in staff members.

    • #14
  15. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    I saw an article that had a few interesting reactions from some conservatives.  This tweet is from Erick Erickson (whose podcast is carried here):

    It’s like Donald Trump’s staff is sabotaging Trump by convincing him to make the worst possible endorsements.

    And this one from Alabama Senator Mo Brooks is really precious:

    This is happening because Trump’s surrounded himself by staff who are on McConnell’s payroll & hostile to the MAGA agenda. Everybody telling Trump who to endorse in primaries works for The Swamp.

    Pretty typical.  When the Trump administration did something good, it was because of the unique genius of Donald J. Trump.  When something didn’t work it was all the fault of those damn swampy staffers and officials who were sabotaging the great man.  But the quote from Brooks is really over the top.  Trump’s staffers are undercover agents for Mitch McConnell, who are giving Trump terrible advice to make him look stupid.  This is like saying Joe Biden is not a fool with a failing memory and no integrity.  It’s just his staff are secretly employed by Biden’s enemies and they set him up to make him look like he doesn’t know what is going on.

     

    • #15
  16. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Oz seems like a terrible conservative standard-bearer. 

    Reading the lists of endorsements, however, prompted me to realize that, to me, a Trump endorsement has zero weight because I have no idea on what basis he issues these things, but the other endorsements have a negative effect, because it makes the candidate seem so swampy. 

    • #16
  17. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    genferei (View Comment):

    Oz seems like a terrible conservative standard-bearer.

    Reading the lists of endorsements, however, prompted me to realize that, to me, a Trump endorsement has zero weight because I have no idea on what basis he issues these things, but the other endorsements have a negative effect, because it makes the candidate seem so swampy.

    All of his support for transgenderism etc leads me to believe he’s not a good doctor, and I have no reason to believe he would be any better as a politician.

    • #17
  18. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    genferei (View Comment):
    Reading the lists of endorsements, however, prompted me to realize that, to me, a Trump endorsement has zero weight because I have no idea on what basis he issues these things,

    It really is. Trump’s endorsements mean nothing. 

    The guy is far from perfect, as we all know. On policy and core principles he’s got great instincts, on gauging people he’s got bad ones. 

    • #18
  19. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Well, consider who Trump selected for his cabinet.  It was a mixed bag at best.

    • #19
  20. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Well, consider who Trump selected for his cabinet. It was a mixed bag at best.

    His foreign policy and Trade team was first rate. 

    • #20
  21. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    There are those of us to whom a Trump endorsement in a primary is a kiss of death, both in the primary and general election.  For example, I will never vote for Kari Lake for Arizona Governor.

    • #21
  22. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Well, consider who Trump selected for his cabinet. It was a mixed bag at best.

    His foreign policy and Trade team was first rate.

    Surely, you mean Pompeo and not Tillerson. 

    • #22
  23. hoowitts Coolidge
    hoowitts
    @hoowitts

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    There are those of us to whom a Trump endorsement in a primary is a kiss of death, both in the primary and general election. For example, I will never vote for Kari Lake for Arizona Governor.

    Just like true conservatives would never vote for Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger moving forward

    • #23
  24. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    hoowitts (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    There are those of us to whom a Trump endorsement in a primary is a kiss of death, both in the primary and general election. For example, I will never vote for Kari Lake for Arizona Governor.

    Just like true conservatives would never vote for Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger moving forward

    At last!  If we can’t have a truly functional one, this at least serves a valuable purpose.

    • #24
  25. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Well, consider who Trump selected for his cabinet. It was a mixed bag at best.

    His foreign policy and Trade team was first rate.

    Surely, you mean Pompeo and not Tillerson.

    I mean Pompeo and the entire economic team that gave China the what for. 

    • #25
  26. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    kedavis (View Comment):

    hoowitts (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    There are those of us to whom a Trump endorsement in a primary is a kiss of death, both in the primary and general election. For example, I will never vote for Kari Lake for Arizona Governor.

    Just like true conservatives would never vote for Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger moving forward

    At last! If we can’t have a truly functional one, this at least serves a valuable purpose.

    Just saved it to my desktop for future use. 

    • #26
  27. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    There are those of us to whom a Trump endorsement in a primary is a kiss of death, both in the primary and general election. For example, I will never vote for Kari Lake for Arizona Governor.

    This is not rational, Gary.  You are outsourcing your decision-making to Donald Trump.  It would be logical for you to evaluate each candidate on their own merits, independent of Trump’s stance.

    • #27
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