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February 03, 2016

Toomey endorsing Rubio for president

Senator's Democratic challengers mock reported decision

Facing an election year himself, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey announced his endorsement of Florida Senator Marco Rubio for president Wednesday evening. 

First reported by Politico, the senator made his choice official among a GOP pack that is seeing candidates drop like flies. Toomey tweeted out several reasons as to why he chose Rubio after announcing his decision, stressing his communication skills and expertise on national security. 

After a competitive third-place finish (and a perplexing "victory" speech) in the Iowa caucus, Rubio is considered the GOP establishment favorite to challenge Texas Senator Ted Cruz and real-estate mogul Donald Trump.

The senator would not confirm his endorsement when asked by the Inquirer on Wednesday.

Toomey, as Politico notes, could have his reelection bid complicated by an outsider candidate leading the party in November, as Pennsylvania is widely considered a swing state but one that leans consistently left-of-center, especially in national elections. It hasn't been won by a Republican presidential candidate since 1988.

Three Democratic candidates are vying for the nomination to challenge Toomey in November: Katie McGinty, former chief of staff for Governor Tom Wolf; John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock; Joe Sestak, former U.S. congressman and Navy admiral.

McGinty, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, was quick to attack Toomey for his reported endorsement of Rubio.

"Both Toomey and Rubio have pushed an agenda that hurts middle-class families, rolls back critical environmental protections, cuts women’s access to healthcare, jeopardizes Social Security and Medicare and blocks higher wages for American workers," a statement from her campaign said.

Fetterman was a tad coy in his response, asking sarcastically on Twitter if Toomey would give Donald Trump back the money he helped raise by appearing at the Pennsylvania Republican Party's annual luncheon in New York City.

Fetterman has endorsed Bernie Sanders.

Sestak has not endorsed anyone in the race so far. When asked, his campaign declined to comment on the endorsement. 

"Joe just focuses on the people of Pennsylvania so he can continue to serve them," a spokesperson for Sestak said.