What you should know
- Sen. Pat Toomey is preparing to retire in less than two months and says he has no regrets about not standing for election in Pennsylvania’s 2022 election cycle but still believes he would have won if he would have run for office this year.
- In an exclusive interview with NBC10’s Lauren Mayk, Toomey said Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano was “never competitive,” calling Republican Senate nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz, however, identified “a very good candidate” who ran well but was marred by a brutal primary.
- Toomey also said that former President Trump played a role in defeating Republicans in Pennsylvania and several other states.
Sen. Pat Toomey is preparing to retire in less than two months and says he has no regrets about not standing for election in Pennsylvania’s 2022 election cycle.
“I was ready to move on,” Toomey said in an interview with NBC10 at his Allentown office.
Toomey has served 18 years in Congress – 12 in the Senate and 6 in the House – and plans to return to the private sector, although he says he doesn’t know where yet and is waiting until he’s out of office to tell everyone options to consider.
The Republican senator announced his decision to leave public office before the 2020 election, saying at the time he believed if he ran, he would win. When asked if he still feels that way today, Toomey said he does.
“Yeah, I think so,” Toomey said. “I ran five election campaigns and won all five. I think I did a good job in the Senate. I think I probably would have been rewarded with another term, but we’ll never know.”
Instead, his party suffered two statewide losses for two vacancies — his Senate seat and the Pennsylvania governor’s office.
“I think we had a real problem at the top of the ticket,” Toomey said, referring to Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano.
Mastriano lost more than 14 points, while Republican Senate nominee Oz lost less than 5 points, according to recent data on the Pennsylvania State Department’s website.
Toomey said Mastriano was “never competitive,” but called Oz “a very good candidate” who ran well but was marred by a brutal primary.
Toomey also said that former President Trump played a role in what happened in Pennsylvania and some other states.
“I think he contributed to the problems that Republicans had,” Toomey said. “I think if you look across the country, there’s a very high correlation — candidates who were seen as ultra-pro-Trump candidates bought into the history of refuse to vote and wanted to revitalize the 2020 election dramatically for the worse fare better than traditional Republicans.”
The former president’s visit to Pennsylvania for a rally just before Election Day was also “unhelpful,” Toomey said.
“The best strategy for Republicans in the past election was to focus on the failure of the Biden administration,” Toomey said. “When Donald Trump comes to town, it’s a reminder of his hopes of being president again. It’s a completely different topic and conversation. It wasn’t helpful for Republican candidates.”
We’ll have more of Toomey’s thoughts on Trump’s decision to run for the White House again in part two of our exclusive interview on Tuesday.