The Republican primary race to decide who will replace retiring Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey is still undecided, but Democrats are wasting no time in testing their strategies to develop the best line of attack against either of the potential nominees. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick were left effectively tied in the state’s primary and are awaiting a recount to decide who will represent the party in November. The Democrats already have their candidate in incumbent Lt. Governor John Fetterman.
Democrats test attack strategies
Fetterman himself suffered a stroke just days before the primary and has since been out of action while recovering, but his party is wasting no time while he recuperates.
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is investing heavily in the race, which it sees as one of its best chances to claim an extra Senate seat in what is expected to otherwise be a bad year for the party.
For the Democrats this delay in deciding the Republican nominee is a convenient trial period to test out their strategies for November regardless of which candidate takes the nomination.
Both men attacked each other relentlessly throughout their primary campaigns, and the Democrats are already taking hints from the approaches they used against each other.
Oz attacked McCormick as a Wall Street schemer who would sell out Pennsylvanians for China, where he has previously had business interests.
McCormick accused Oz of being a Hollywood liberal who has only just changed his stripes to run for a Senate seat after a lifetime of supporting Democrats.
Republicans wait for nominee
Both men are particularly vulnerable to another issue that the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee has latched on to; neither has lived in Pennsylvania in recent years.
McCormick was born in the state but has lived elsewhere for most of his adult life, and Oz has only a tenuous connection to the state derived mostly from his time spent there while attending medical school.
Fetterman is very much a native Pennsylvanian, so the Democrats are free to attack both Republicans as “carpetbaggers” and they are not hesitating to do so.
The party intends to ensure that the Republican who ultimately secures the nomination approaches the general election as damaged goods.
They may be forced to divide their attentions, but McCormick and Oz are still unable to shift their campaigns into a primarily anti-Fetterman stance while they still have each other to contend with.
Fetterman’s health issues have been making it somewhat difficult for the Democrats to promote their own candidate, but the break in the action is at least providing ample opportunity to cultivate attack strategies to damage the other side without facing a unified Republican response.