Yeah, sure, David McCormick, the former army vet, Bush-era appointee, Bridgewater C.E.O., and barrel-chested Dina Powell arm candy may seem like an up-from-the-bootstraps Mitt Romney, Reagan-Republican type, who can barely keep track of his country club memberships or garage elevators. But McCormick, ever the dextrous optionality-preserving finance genius, has spent the past few months reorienting his image as a MAGA-friendly Pennsylvanian in pursuit of the state’s vacant Senate seat. In recent months, he resigned from Bridgewater, moved back to the Pittsburgh burbs, slapped on a barn jacket, began tweeting Bible verses, and (presumably juiced by his wife’s old White House contacts) engaged a slew of former Trump staffers—Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller and Cliff Sims among them—to whip up some deplorable enthusiasm around his candidacy.
It has worked swimmingly. Ted Cruz loves McCormick. So does Elise Stefanik, Trump’s staunch defender during his (first) impeachment, who is now the number three Republican in the House. And so does Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and even Sean Parnell, the Trump-endorsed former front-runner in the Pennsylvania race who was forced to drop out last year after domestic abuse allegations. The hedge fund billionaire has since beefed up his staff with nearly every former Trump campaign staffer under the sun and as many high-profile MAGA validators as possible, trying to convince ordinary Pennsylvanians that he’s one of them.
McCormick’s competitor for the Republican nomination, of course, is the heart surgeon-turned-supermarket-checkout magazine coverboy mega-millionaire, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is undergoing his own post-Covid-science, trans rights-scrutinizing MAGA star turn. Rick Perry has thrown his Stetson in the ring for Oz, as has Sean Hannity and, reportedly, Melania Trump. Oz is running with a smaller staff, leaning heavily into the image of the nice television doctor that everybody knows already.