David McCormick on Thursday officially launched his campaign to unseat Sen. Bob Casey (D) in Pennsylvania, handing Republicans a key recruiting win on the 2024 map as they look to take back the majority next year. 

McCormick, the former CEO of Bridgewater Associates, announced his bid during a kickoff event in Pittsburgh. The run marks his second in as many cycles for the upper chamber after he narrowly lost a primary bid against Mehmet Oz last year.

“I have total faith and confidence in the people of Pennsylvania, but we need the right kind of leaders to turn things around and give us the opportunity we deserve,” McCormick told supporters, according to remarks as prepared for delivery. “The hour is late, but our future is bright. … I will unify the Republican Party in our great commonwealth.”

McCormick, who also served in the Treasury Department under former President George W. Bush, is widely considered to be among the top recruits by Senate Republican leaders in their quest to retake the majority after a four-year hiatus. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has repeatedly offered high praise for McCormick and privately pushed him to jump in the race.

“Dave McCormick has done a remarkable job of unifying the grassroots in Pennsylvania. A graduate of West Point, combat veteran and Pennsylvania job creator, Dave is exactly the type of candidate who can win both a primary and a general election in one of the most competitive states in the country,” Daines said in a statement. “It’s great news that Dave is stepping up to serve our country once again.”

National and Pennsylvania Republicans widely view McCormick as not just the best, but the only option to have a shot at defeating Casey. That feeling is shared by elected officials across the Keystone State as the entire Pennsylvania GOP congressional delegation is endorsing McCormick. 

McCormick’s ability to help self-fund his operation is also helpful for the GOP. In his 2022 contest, McCormick spent $14 million of his own money in less than five months, but he has told people that he does not plan to spend nearly that much on this campaign. 

Still, Republicans are well aware that this race will be a difficult one. Casey has proven to be a tough opponent ever since he defeated former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) in 2006. Casey won reelection handily in 2012 and 2018, both considered prime years for Democrats writ large.

“This is a tough fight. We don’t think anything otherwise,” a McCormick strategist told reporters prior to the announcement. “We certainly don’t think this is going to be an easy race for us, but this is clearly a race we can win [and that we are strongly positioned to win.”

The McCormick strategist framed the coming race as one between “a Pennsylvania success story versus someone who is a rubber stamp for the failed Biden agenda,” arguing that the incumbent Democrat is a “do-nothing senator.”

McCormick added during his Thursday announcement that while Casey is a “nice guy,” he isn’t a leader.

“This moment requires leaders who aren’t afraid to shake up Washington,” he added.

Still, the McCormick campaign will have to overcome some challenges.

The Casey name has a long track record in the state. Casey’s father, Bob Casey, Sr., served two terms as the state’s governor and is synonymous with the moderate wing of the Democratic Party. The incumbent senator also served as state attorney general prior to his 2006 Senate bid. 

McCormick has also faced residency questions that could be a bigger concern this cycle than in 2022, when he faced off against Oz, who moved from New Jersey without much of a connection to the state previously. 

“The real David McCormick is a mega-millionaire Connecticut hedge fund executive who is lying about living in Pennsylvania, and has spent his life looking out for himself and his rich friends at the expense of working families,” Maddy McDaniel, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, said in a statement. 

“Bob Casey has spent his career fighting for Pennsylvanians who work for a living, while McCormick has shown he will do and say anything to benefit himself and his wealthy Wall Street friends,” McDaniel added.

Another major question mark for McCormick is former President Trump, who is the prohibitive favorite to become the GOP presidential nominee next year and heavily criticized McCormick in the primary campaign last year against Oz. 

Prior to the 2022 primary, Trump panned the newly-minted Senate candidate as a “liberal Wall Street Republican” and said that he wasn’t “MAGA.” He also likened him to former Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who voted to convict Trump over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol and had a contentious relationship with the ex-president. 

The McCormick strategist declined to say whether Trump and McCormick have talked since the primary run.