Republican Pat Toomey blames Trump for GOP’s failure to hold Pennsylvania Senate seat

Retiring Republican Pat Toomey is joining those blaming Donald Trump for the party’s failure to hold onto Toomey’s critical Pennsylvania Senate seat in Tuesday’s midterm elections, saying the former president just “had to insert himself.”

Toomey’s seat was won by Democrat John Fetterman, a stunning upset that narrowed the GOP’s path to regaining the Senate majority.

Toomey blames Trump

Republicans were optimistic about holding Toomey’s seat, especially after Fetterman, who suffered a debilitating stroke this year, put on a faltering debate performance in late October. But voters ended up choosing Fetterman over Oz by roughly 5 points.

While some Trump critics have said Oz was a poor candidate, Toomey told CNN’s Situation Room that Oz was a good candidate who got dragged down by an “ultra-MAGA” pick at the top of the ballot, Doug Mastriano.

Mastriano, an unapologetic Trump supporter and so-called “election denier” who maintained that the 2020 election was stolen, lost his governor race to Democrat Josh Shapiro by double-digits.

“We had an ultra-MAGA candidate who never appeared to even attempt to expand beyond a hardcore base that was very, very committed to him. But he ended up losing in an epic beatdown. And it’s very, very hard for candidates who are down ballot,” Toomey said.

Meanwhile, Toomey said that Trump made things worse for Oz by campaigning with him in Pennsylvania a few days before Election Day.

“Had to insert himself”

According to Toomey, that created a distraction from Joe Biden’s record of failure.

“We were in a cycle, we were at a time when it’s good for Republicans for the race to be about President Biden, who is not popular, whose policies have failed, and instead President Trump had to insert himself, and that changed the nature of the race, and that created just too much of an obstacle,” he said.

Toomey, who voted to impeach Trump after January 6th, also claimed that there is a “high correlation” between “MAGA candidate and big losses” nationwide.

The GOP’s overall lackluster midterm performance has fueled intense criticism of Trump from Republican politicians, pundits, and conservative media, with many hailing Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R) as the future of the party.

But some Republicans have endorsed Trump, including Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL.) and House GOP conference leader Elise Stefanik (NY.), ahead of his anticipated 2024 campaign launch on Tuesday night.