Toomey also pushed for the quick confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court.
Saying it was an honor to represent this “big, beautiful, complicated state,” Sen. Pat Toomey on Monday confirmed reports that he would not seek re-election to the Senate or run for governor when his term ends in 2022.
Toomey said donors had begun to contact him about possible runs for either office and he knew he didn’t want to run. If he was going to tell the donors, he said, he needed to tell the voters.
“If I’m going to let some people know, I should let all people know,” Toomey said.
The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported Toomey’s decision Sunday morning.
The news surprised many Pennsylvania politicos.
G. Terry Madonna, the director of the Franklin and Marshall College Poll, said it “was widely rumored he was going to run for governor.”
Madonna said the state’s changing political landscape could have influenced Toomey’s decision. He pointed to the Philadelphia suburbs’ recent lunge toward the Democrats.
“Winning might be difficult,” Madonna said.
Toomey and a few judges are the only Republicans who have won a statewide election to represent the state. The governor, lieutenant governor, row office-holders and other senator are all Democrats.
Toomey touched on several topics during his announcement.
He said he expects the senate to move quickly on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
“I think it’s likely that we vote prior to the election,” he said.
That process possibly hit a snag this weekend.
Two members of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary—Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Thom Tillis (R-NC)—have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Another Republican senator, Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), has also tested positive. Those positive tests and the CDC-recommended two-week quarantine could delay proceedings.
One of the things Toomey proudly talked about was Washington’s response to the virus, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans.
He pointed out that the hyper-partisan Congress worked together to pass important legislation.
“Fortunately, we were able to come together when the public really needed it,” he said.
While Toomey spoke, his wife stood behind him wearing a mask.
He also highlighted his relationship with fellow Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, his work on the opioid crisis, and efforts to cut down on regulation and taxes.
Toomey hopes to remain busy in the final two years of his term. He hopes to become chairman of the banking committee.
He also reiterated his support for President Donald Trump, but pointed out they have had disagreements over the years.
“I decided early on that I am not responsible for the president’s Twitter feed,” he said.
Toomey first won election to the senate in 2010, and was re-elected in 2016.
Before his election to the senate, Toomey served three terms in the House of Representatives.
“Eighteen years is a long time,” he said.
Who Might Run for the Senate or Governor in 2022?
As for who will run for the Republican nomination in either the senate or governor’s races, Madonna wasn’t sure.
“I would say right now it’s pretty wide open,” he said.
Any number of the current Pennsylvania Republicans in the House of Representatives could run. So could the leaders of the state legislature.
Madonna pointed out that Gov. Tom Wolf was not an elected official before he ran for office.