Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) has decided he will not seek reelection to the Senate or run for governor of Pennsylvania in 2022, announcing his decision on Monday morning.
“I will not be running for reelection in 2022 and I will not be running for governor,” Toomey said in his formal announcement.”I will serve out the remainder of my term.”
Another Republican down
Though Toomey’s seat is secured for another two years, the GOP’s control of the Senate is already tenuous, so losing another strong Republican is still a major blow.
According to The Hill, “Republican senators will already be on the defensive in 2022, defending 22 seats, compared with 12 Democratic seats.”
During his two terms in the Senate, Toomey has been a strong fiscally conservative voice in the Senate, advocating for term limits and major tax cuts. Toomey has acted as a major McConnell and Trump ally throughout his time in the Senate, and his departure will make both leaders’ jobs that much harder.
However, as a longtime advocate for term limits, Toomey appears to be sticking to his guns till the bitter end. In December, when NBC’s “Meet the Press” asked him about his position on a potential third term, the Pennsylvania legislator answered that he hadn’t ruled another attempt out, saying that “I have not imposed term limits on myself.”
Toomey’s decision to not run for governor will likely set off a contentious race for the governorship, and a lack of clear GOP successor for his Senate seat will likely be just as fierce.
As the state’s highest-profile GOP politician, Toomey’s departure throws a major wildcard into the critical swing state’s upcoming elections.
Politico reported that both races are anyone’s game at this point, and that “Democratic Lt. Gov, John Fetterman, who ran for Senate in 2016 and lost in the primary, didn’t rule out running” for the governorship, saying in a text message “2022 is wide open.”
State Treasurer Joe Torsella also is seriously considering launching his own campaign according to an insider familiar with his thinking.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Val Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners in the Philadelphia suburbs, and Reps. Conor Lamb and Chrissy Houlahan are all considered possibly Democrat candidates for Toomey’s soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat.
The state’s GOP has yet to coalesce around a successor for Toomey’s Senate seat or the governorship, opening up the races to a wide variety of GOP candidates.