Senator Pat Toomey, the only Republican politician currently holding statewide office in Pennsylvania, will not run for reelection in 2022, he announced Monday morning. Toomey, who was also considered a favorite to challenge Governor Tom Wolf that year, also said he would not make a gubernatorial run.
The announcement opens up a key Senate seat for Democrats to target, and opens the gates for other Pennsylvania Republicans to seek Wolf's seat.
Toomey, who has held federal office in Pennsylvania for a cumulative 18 years, including six years in the House of Representatives, told reporters the reasons for his upcoming retirement from government are "not political, they're personal." He said he has long believed there should be term limits, and although he didn't publicly set a limit to his time in the Senate, he always planned to serve two terms. He has no specific plans other than to work in the private sector and spend more time in Pennsylvania with his family, he said.
Toomey said he made the decision before President Trump's positive COVID-19 test, and "that played absolutely no role whatsoever." He made the decision now — in the midst of a pandemic, civil unrest and a presidential election — because he felt obligated to tell his supporters, he said.
"I've been getting phone calls, almost on a daily basis from people who have said, 'I want to help you run for governor. I want to help your reelection campaign. I want to host a fundraiser,'" Toomey said. "I need to be candid with them. And I feel like I should be candid with everybody."
Toomey has at times been critical of Mr. Trump's rhetoric and governing style, but on Monday said disagreements with the president, "had no bearing whatsoever."
"I work with this president on a regular basis. It's a very constructive working relationship and when I've disagreed with him which I have,I haven't been bashful about saying so," he said. "But that has nothing to do with this decision."
Toomey did not endorse Mr. Trump in 2016, but said he would help the president's reelection effort in Pennsylvania in whatever ways the campaign asks him to.
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