Republican operatives hope Bridgewater boss can win tight Senate race

When longtime non-public fairness govt Glenn Youngkin swept to victory within the Virginia governor’s race final month, Republicans thought that they had alighted on a successful components for the post-Trump period.

Now, social gathering operatives in Pennsylvania are betting that one other conservative financier, Bridgewater chief govt David McCormick, will be capable to stroll the same political tightrope to win the state’s US Senate race subsequent yr.

To accomplish that, backers say, McCormick should lean on his spectacular CV and a substantial money pile to safe help not simply from Donald Trump’s base, but additionally among the many independents and reasonable voters who deserted the Republicans in droves over the last president’s administration.

To his supporters, McCormick, 56, is an much more engaging model of Youngkin, the previous CEO of Carlyle. In addition to having held a senior non-public sector job, the Bridgewater boss can also be an Army veteran with a Bronze Star who has authorities expertise and a PhD from Princeton.


McCormick has but to formally enter a crowded area of Republican Senate hopefuls that already consists of Trump’s ambassador to Denmark, actuality TV star Dr Oz and a neighborhood actual property developer.

But folks near the hedge fund boss say he has knowledgeable colleagues of his plans, and can step other than managing the mammoth $150bn fund within the coming weeks to embark on a political marketing campaign.

“We have an opportunity here for somebody who is frankly quite exceptional, and exceptional might be what we need to win,” mentioned Daniel Meuser, a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania who’s already backing McCormick’s anticipated candidacy.


McCormick, who is predicated in Connecticut however grew up in central Pennsylvania, has been assembly social gathering management, donors and activists within the Keystone state in current days to drum up curiosity.

The Pennsylvania Senate race shall be among the many tightest and most intently watched contests in subsequent yr’s midterms, when Republicans will search to regain management of each chambers of Congress.

McCormick allies say they see similarities between their candidate and Youngkin, a political novice who constructed a broad coalition of supporters in Virginia, which Biden and the Democrats received by greater than 10 factors in 2020. Biden beat Trump by a razor-thin margin of simply over 80,000 in Pennsylvania final yr.

However, folks near McCormick additionally argue the political newcomer would enter the Pennsylvania race with a stronger CV than Youngkin. A graduate of the distinguished West Point navy academy, he served within the first Gulf battle and finally earned a distinguished Treasury position below George W Bush.


Later he joined Bridgewater, the idiosyncratic hedge fund based by Ray Dalio, turning into co-CEO in 2016 and sole chief govt final yr.

McCormick with Donald Trump in New Jersey in 2016. McCormick has clear ties to the previous president: his spouse, Dina Powell McCormick, spent a yr as Trump’s deputy nationwide safety adviser © Getty Images

“It is a point in time in America where the Glenn Youngkins and Dave McCormicks of the world are badly needed in the Republican party to restore some stability,” mentioned one individual encouraging McCormick to run.

“You can still be a conservative, you can be principled, without being brash or offensive,” the individual added. There is a option to do it, to nonetheless get these Trump voters with out being Trump.”

McCormick’s advisers say he might want to thread the same needle to Youngkin, who gained traction amongst rural voters after an endorsement from Trump however then saved the previous president at arm’s size on the marketing campaign path to enchantment to moderates within the suburbs.

“It is a double-edged sword,” mentioned Charlie Dent, a former Republican congressman from the Lehigh valley who has but to again a candidate within the Senate race. “The Trump endorsement could be of use in a primary, but it could also be the kiss of death in a general.”

Trump might throw his weight behind one other Pennsylvania hopeful after the candidate he initially endorsed, Army veteran Sean Parnell, suspended his marketing campaign final month amid accusations of home abuse from his estranged spouse.

McCormick has clear ties to the Trump White House: his spouse, Dina Powell McCormick, who’s a companion at Goldman Sachs, spent a yr as Trump’s deputy nationwide safety adviser.

Several former Trump advisers have inspired McCormick to run, and the previous president final week hinted he may again the hedge fund boss, telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that “a couple of people” he described as “excellent” had been becoming a member of the Pennsylvania race.

But McCormick additionally seems to be successful over some Trump critics. William Sasso, a longtime Republican political donor from Philadelphia who mentioned he was “totally disenchanted” with the previous president, mentioned he noticed parallels between McCormick and the state’s outgoing GOP senator Pat Toomey, who has fallen out of favour with Trump’s base.

“[Toomey] was not an ideologue like so many others on both sides of the aisle. If he felt something was not appropriate for the country, he made it known, regardless of who was promoting it, Democrat or Republican,” Sasso mentioned. “I have been impressed by Dave McCormick in that I believe he is cut from the same cloth.”

“I think most people realise that [McCormick] is not a Trumper,” Sasso added.

For now, folks near McCormick are eager to push again towards ideas he’s an out-of-touch “carpetbagger” — allegations which have already plagued Oz — and as a substitute emphasise the chief’s modest upbringing and ties to the area people.

“There are certain people who have their home state in their blood and he is one of them,” mentioned Mike DeVanney, a Pittsburgh-based political strategist advising McCormick.

However, others acknowledge that McCormick’s hedge fund credentials could also be a vulnerability on the marketing campaign path, with opponents more likely to pore over Bridgewater’s investments — particularly in China — or be turned off by the candidate’s private wealth.

Dalio made headlines this month when he appeared to liken China’s human rights abuses to that of a “strict parent”. He later apologised for a scarcity of nuance, and McCormick individually sought to distance himself from the feedback.

McCormick allies however insist his successes within the enterprise world shall be an asset in promoting himself to voters.

“He was somebody who was self-made,” DeVanney added. “I think he is somebody that is not afraid to lean into that success.”

McCormick’s present and former colleagues describe him as charming, assured and somebody who holds himself and people round him to the best requirements. But some expressed scepticism over whether or not he would have a straightforward transition from the board room to the marketing campaign path.

“If you said he is going to be the next Republican secretary of the Treasury . . . that would not surprise me,” mentioned one one that labored with McCormick within the Bush administration.

“But being somebody on the campaign trail, having to have the patience to glad hand people and yuk it up?” they added. “That is not the Dave McCormick I know.”

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