Pennsylvania Lt. Gov Austin Davis looks on as Kelsey Leigh tells her abortion story during an event at United Steelworkers in Pittsburgh Sept. 21, 2023 (Capital-Star photo)
PITTSBURGH – Lt. Gov. Austin Davis told a gathering at the United Steelworkers headquarters Downtown on Thursday that he had brought gifts to welcome likely GOP Senate candidate David McCormick to town.
“Dave McCormick is one of those folks who left Pennsylvania behind. He laid off dozens of Pittsburgh workers when he was a corporate CEO, he got rich by shipping American jobs overseas, and he doesn’t even live here. He’s a billionaire who lives on Connecticut’s Gold Coast,” Davis said to a gathering of union workers and local officials.
“But my parents instilled in me some manners and said when visitors come we should welcome them,” he continued, “so I brought two gifts for Dave McCormick: A Pittsburgh visitor’s guide, and a Pittsburgh official map to help him figure out how to navigate Western Pennsylvania as he spends more time here in Allegheny County.”
— Austin Davis (@AustinDavisPA) September 21, 2023
McCormick is expected to announce his campaign for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat at an event tonight at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh’s Strip District neighborhood. He’s been considered the most likely candidate to challenge U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who is seeking reelection to a fourth term. McCormick lost the GOP primary for Senate in Pennsylvania in 2022 to Mehmet Oz, who lost in the general election to Democrat John Fetterman.
As they did with Oz in 2022, Democrats have been hammering away at McCormick’s residency status. McCormick grew up in Pennsylvania and owns a home in Pittsburgh, but the Associated Press reported last month that he lists his Connecticut address on public documents, and has not received a homestead tax exemption on his house in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
“This gentleman’s going to call Squirrel Hill in the 14th Ward his home having never lived there, never been there, and I know he’s not here because I work in the community day in and day out,” said state Sen. Jay Costa. “We know that this person is a Connecticut resident. If you want to run for U.S. Senate, go to Connecticut and run for U.S. Senate.”
Kelsey Leigh, of Pittsburgh suburb Mt. Lebanon, said Thursday she was opposed to McCormick as a candidate because of his views on abortion. In 2016, an ultrasound showed the pregnancy she was carrying was not viable.
“If my pregnancy had continued, he likely wouldn’t have had the ability to swallow,” she said, her voice wavering. “His bones would have been broken during delivery no matter the method. I could not, would not, carry my son for four more months knowing his life would be filled with pain.”
She made the choice that she thought was best for her and her family, and had an abortion. “But it if it were up to him, I would have been stripped of my right to privacy.” Leigh noted that McCormick said the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs case that overturned Roe v. Wade was “a huge victory.”
As WESA-FM reported this week, McCormick made the comments about the Dobbs case to Fox News host Laura Ingraham in May 2022 (when it leaked early) calling the decision “a huge step forward and a huge victory for the protection of life,” according to an archived version of the show’s video.
“He’s a dangerous extremist, whose out of touch views on abortions are just one of many reasons he has no place in elected office in Pennsylvania,” Leigh said.
Darrin Kelly, president of the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council praised Casey by repeating the oft-cited remark that the senior senator from Pennsylvania was like “oatmeal,” not typically viewed as a flattering observation.
“For the working families of western Pennsylvania, oatmeal fed a hell of a lot of us for generation after generation. It strengthened our children,” Kelly said. “So you know what, Bob Casey, you are our oatmeal.”
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