John Cole, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
January 6, 2024
HARRISBURG — On the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, U.S. Sen Bob Casey (D-Pa.) told the Capital-Star that safeguarding democracy will be a key issue in 2024.
“We’ve got to make sure that we protect our democracy, protect voting rights, and make sure that those who don’t have respect for the Constitution and the rule of law are held to account,” Casey said. He made the remarks at the 108th Pennsylvania Farm Show on Saturday, where he was part of the opening ceremonies.
Casey, who is seeking his fourth term in the U.S. Senate, is likely going to face Republican David McCormick in November’s general election, as both candidates appear to have a clear path to their respective parties’ nomination.
“I also think it’s relevant actually to the campaign I’m in,” Casey said. “I’m running against someone who’s supported by these election deniers, fake electors, who’ve supported my opponent, and I think that’s going to be a significant issue in the campaign.”
During a press call with reporters on Friday, McCormick said he would not be endorsing any candidate during the Republican Party primary for President, but will support the Republican nominee in the general election. During McCormick’s 2022 bid for the Republican Party nomination for U.S. Senate, his campaign paid a political operative who was tied to Trump’s effort to overturn the election results in Georgia.
Reached for comment on Saturday, McCormick campaign spokesperson Elizabeth Gregory did not directly address Casey’s remark that the Republican candidate is supported by election deniers. “Bob Casey will say anything to distract from his record of voting for Biden’s agenda 98% of the time,” Gregory said. She added that Pennsylvanians will elect McCormick in November to “shake things up in Washington.”
In the 2022 Republican Party primary for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, then-President Donald Trump endorsed Mehmet Oz over McCormick. McCormick suggested in his book published last year that Oz earned Trump’s endorsement over him because McCormick didn’t support the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen.
President Joe Biden kicked off his 2024 reelection campaign in Pennsylvania on Friday, during a speech where he described what he sees as the dangers of electing Trump to another term.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will take up a case that will determine whether or not Trump can appear on Colorado’s 2024 presidential primary ballot. The state’s Supreme Court ruled on Dec. 19 that Trump is ineligible to appear on the ballot under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Maine’s Secretary of State has also ruled Trump isn’t eligible for the ballot in that state.
The 14th Amendment in part states that those who “engaged in insurrection” while taking an oath to uphold the Constitution should not be allowed to hold elected office in the United States.
Asked by the Capital-Star how he thinks the U.S. Supreme Court will decide on the Colorado case, Casey said he was unsure.
Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Al Schmidt has said he does not have the authority to remove Trump from the Keystone State’s ballot.
While Casey says the U.S. cannot have a repeat of Jan. 6, 2021, he believes a serious threat still exists, and one could make a “strong argument” that it is greater now than it was then.
“I don’t think January 6 is a date in time,” Casey said. “I think the threat that played out on January the 6th remains.”
The attack on the Capitol was a “violent assault” on law enforcement officials trying to protect the operations of government to certify an election, Casey added.
“We cannot allow that to happen,” he said. “Anyone who’s an election denier should not serve in any office, from local office to federal office.”
When asked if election deniers should be removed from office or voted out, Casey said “I hope they would not be voted in, in the first place, but obviously if they’re up for reelection, I hope people hold them accountable.”
Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: email@example.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.