Why neither party is supporting a candidate for the 2022 PA senate race

Politics, state politics

Aidan Tyksinski, staff

Header Image: Generals International

Why neither party is supporting a candidate for the 2022 PA senate race

While the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate race is one of the most discussed midterm races in the nation, it seems that two major players in the race are willing to stay uninvolved for the time being. Both the Pennsylvania Republicans and Democrats are unwilling at this point to throw their support behind any candidate fighting for soon-to-be-former Senator Pat Toomey’s seat. While both parties have a good reason not to do so at the moment, some candidates need these nominations more than others. 

For the Democratic party, there are a couple of reasons that no candidate has support, the biggest being that the pool of candidates is currently too big. For any Democratic candidate to get a nomination, they need at least two-thirds support from the committee. When the committee held this vote over a week ago, there were four frontrunners: John Fetterman, Val Arkoosh, Connor Lamb and Malcolm Kenyatta. The number of frontrunners recently shrunk by one due to Arkoosh dropping out of the race late last week. 

Out of the three leading candidates, it seems that most of the Democratic Committee is torn between Fetterman and Lamb. Fetterman, the more progressive of the two, has gotten more donations than any other candidate in the party. However, it seems that many members of the committee feel that Fetterman’s message might not create a lot of turnouts in the very purple state, and view Lamb as a moderate whose message could swing the seat back under Democrats’ control. During the voting for the nomination, 159 members endorsed Lamb, 64 members endorsed Fetterman and Kenyatta got 49. A candidate must get 176 votes for the nomination.

For the Republicans, the reason for not picking a nomination is much simpler: there is currently no clear front-runner in the race. The two current front-runners, Dr. Mehmet Öz and David McCormick, both joined the race very recently and have no experience running a political campaign. With this seat as valuable as it is, the Pennsylvania Republican Committee seems to be playing it safe until after the primary, when there will be a clear candidate for the November election.As it stands, either McCormick or Öz could win the primary in May. Using their deep pockets, both candidates have created attack ads against each other and the Democratic party. Both have also accused each other of having ties to foreign countries, with McCormick also throwing around the idea that Öz’s ties in Hollywood will not make a good senator for Pennsylvania. The party is not the only main player staying silent on the race. Former President Trump, whose advisors say is paying close attention to the open seat, has been silent on the race ever since the candidate he supported, Sean Parnell, dropped out in November of last year. In the coming weeks and months, it will be interesting to see if more candidates fall out of the race, and which party will back a candidate first.

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