Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) has privately told donors and supporters that he is “likely” running for the Senate seat that incumbent Republican Pat Toomey is vacating in the state, according to a new report from POLITICO. Lamb’s campaign manager Abby Nassif-Murphy said that “no decision has been made” but acknowledged that Lamb was considering running. Pennsylvania has leaned especially Democratic recently, and Toomey’s retirement, leaving no incumbent on the ballot in 2022 when he’d otherwise be up for re-election, could present a serious pick-up opportunity for Democrats.
Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb is moving toward a Pennsylvania Senate run.
Lamb, a former Marine and federal prosecutor who won a critical special election in 2018, has said he's seriously considering a run to succeed Pat Toomey.https://t.co/bc8DpBn1Qi
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 1, 2021
Last November, Joe Biden won the state in the presidential race, and Pennsylvania’s governor and other Senator are already Democrats. Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Tom Wolf was re-elected in 2018 by a landslide margin of over 17 percent, while Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey won re-election that same year by a similar landslide margin of over 13 percent. Casey ran at the time against Republican Lou Barletta, who’d served on the transition team for then-president-elect Donald Trump.
According to POLITICO, Lamb “has urged some donors to contribute quickly as he ramps up his fundraising operation ahead of a formal launch” of a Senate campaign, with the publication also noting that Lamb’s “team has hired fundraising consultants and recently held a high-profile fundraiser with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).” Lamb went out to campaign over the weekend on behalf of a Democratic state Senate candidate running some 300 miles away from Lamb’s district, “which further fueled speculation that he would run statewide,” POLITICO noted.
Other Democrats in Pennsylvania, including Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, have already announced campaigns for the Senate seat that Toomey is vacating. The Cook Political Report rates the Pennsylvania Senate seat and another currently GOP-held Senate seat in North Carolina as toss-ups ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. They do not rate a single currently Democrat-held seat that will be on the ballot in 2022 as a toss-up, although the site does characterize Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly’s and Georgia Democrat Raphael Warnock’s seats as merely “leaning” Democratic, which is the last stop before toss-up status.