Esper backs McCormick over Oz in Pennsylvania Senate race
Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper waded into the Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary, backing candidate David McCormick (R), after news broke that the contest was considered too close to call against Trump-backed Mehmet Oz.
Speaking on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Friday, Maher asked his guests, which included Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile, comedian Adam Carolla and Esper if Democrats should run more candidates like Pennsylvania Senate candidate and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D).
“He is such a wonderful populist candidate,” Brazile said, adding it was “because he supports the middle class, he supports the little person.”
“He’s the lieutenant governor. He has a strong record. He wants to raise the minimum wage. Yes, he wants to legalize marijuana … he wants to bring factory jobs. Yes, he has a great personality. You should have him on as soon as he’s ready,” she said.
Before the Democratic primary Fetterman announced that he had suffered a stroke, and underwent a procedure to implant a pacemaker. The lieutenant governor won the Democratic primary.
Esper jumped into the conversation, appearing to throw support behind McCormick.
“Let me provide you an alternative,” Esper said. “I grew up in Pennsylvania. The man for the job is Dave McCormick. He’s a front-runner alongside Oz right now for the Republican side, and he would be a great U.S. senator.”
The development comes after The Associated Press reported on Friday that the Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary was too close to call and could trigger an automatic recount law in the state if the margin between candidates is within 0.5 percent.
On Wednesday, former President Trump urged Oz to declare that he had won the race even as votes were still being counted.
Esper served under Trump from 2019 until the former president fired him in 2020 days after the presidential election. Their relationship was fraught, and Esper claimed in parts of his new book that Trump wanted to shoot protesters in June of 2020.
He also alleged that the former commander in chief wanted to fire missiles into Mexico to combat drug cartels.
Whoever wins the Republican primary will face off against Fetterman in the November midterms.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.