BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Sen. Pat Toomey announced Monday that he won’t run for reelection or governor in 2022, sending shockwaves through the Pennsylvania political establishment.
Toomey said his decision, first reported Sunday by The Inquirer, was a personal and not a political one. He noted he has spent 18 of the last 24 years in elected office and said he wants to spend more time with his family. He said he would complete his Senate term, which ends in early 2023.
“I’m looking forward to more time back at home,” Toomey told reporters gathered in Bethlehem for his announcement.
Asked if he thought he could have won another statewide race in 2022, Toomey noted his record of success winning tough House and Senate elections. “I think if I decided to run, I would have, I would have won again,” he said.
Toomey also reaffirmed his support for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, as well as his support for a push to confirm Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before Election Day.
And while he plans to leave public life after 2022, hesaid he is “cautiously optimistic” thatRepublicans will hold the Senate in the Nov. 3 election, and that he will become chairman of the Senate banking committee. Toomey, a former Wall Street banker himself, talked about several conservative initiatives he hopes he can push through if that happens.
Toomey, a senator since 2011 and the most prominent Pennsylvania Republican in elected office, was widely expected to run for governor and to be the GOP favorite for that position. Instead, his decision to pass has thrown open both the 2022 gubernatorial and Senate races, inviting a slew of people in both parties to evaluate their chances.
The timing was surprising: Most political insiders expected Toomey to wait to see the results of the 2020 election and the political landscape before announcing his choice. But he said people had been offering to help his next campaign, and he wanted to be honest with them.
“Once I reached the decision, I need to be candid with them, and I feel like I should be candid with everybody,” Toomey said in Bethlehem. “I made a decision, it’s not going to change so I want to let everybody know.”
Toomey’s announcement also comes at an already tumultuous moment for Republicans in Washington. Trump is hospitalized with the coronavirus. Three GOP senators have also contracted the virus, which could hamper the party’s push to install Judge Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court. And Trump and fellow Republicans face increasingly dire poll numbers, threatening their hold on both the White House and Senate.
It’s not a huge surprise that Toomey is leaving the Senate after his term ends in 2022, something he had previously suggested that was likely. But his decision to pass on the governor’s race, too, is hugely unexpected.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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