A month before Dave McCormick’s announcement Thursday for his second run for a U.S. Senate seat from Pennsylvania, he was the guest of honor at a party hosted by fashion designer Tory Burch at her massive Hamptons estate, according to several attendees.
McCormick, the former CEO of hedge fund giant Bridgewater Associates, was surrounded by a Who’s Who of Wall Street as they celebrated his new book, “Superpower in Peril.”
The more than 100 attendees included former Goldman Sachs executives Lloyd Blankfein, Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, according to people who were there.
Other guests were current Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, and Bob Steel, the vice chairman of investment banking giant Perella Weinberg.
Mnuchin served as Treasury Secretary under former President Donald Trump, while Cohn was one of Trump’s lead economic advisors.
Many of those who attended the party have signaled privately they will likely back McCormick for bid to unseat Sen. Bob Casey, the Democratic incumbent, with campaign donations or fundraising efforts, according to people familiar with their plans.
Other likely backers include Paul Singer, the president of investment giant Elliot Investment Management, and Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman.
A Goldman Sachs spokeswoman declined to comment. Representatives for McCormick, Burch, Mnuchin Cohn, Singer and Schwarzman did not immediately return requests for comment to CNBC.
Steel told CNBC that he plans to support McCormick, as the two have been close for years.
Steel said the event at Burch’s home was a “book party” where no politics was discussed.
But, Steel said, “There certainly is a Venn diagram of people who attended the book party and people who want to help Dave or help Dave again.”
McCormick, who has split his time between Connecticut and Pennsylvania, announced his campaign against Casey on Thursday, according to NBC News.
McCormick plans to make his announcement in Pittsburgh, The Associated Press reported.
Singer and other wealthy donors are planning to huddle for a strategy briefing on Friday backed by the pro-McCormick super PAC, Keystone Renewal, according to an invitee.
McCormick and his wife Dina Powell McCormick, who previously worked at Goldman Sachs, are expected to be on the call, this person explained.
Dave McCormick worked in the Bush administration’s Treasury Department. Dina had stints in the Bush and Trump administrations.
Those who declined to be named in this story did so under the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely about private matters.
If these executives end up pouring money into the race, it would signal how expensive the overall campaign for Casey’s seat will be.
It would also mark the latest election that McCormick is seeing a wave of wealthy donors get in his corner, as many of these business leaders has backed his failed 2022 primary run for the Pennsylvania Senate seat currently held by the Democrat John Fetterman.
The last time McCormick ran for Senate, his chief rival in the Republican primary was TV host Dr. Mehment Oz.
The two ended up spending more than a combined $40 million of their own money on the campaigns, with millions more being raised from other contributors, according to data from OpenSecrets.
Oz ended up beating McCormick in that primary after the veteran TV host received an endorsement from then-President Donald Trump. Oz later lost to Fetterman.
The Oz and Fetterman campaigns raised more than a combined $120 million during the 2022 election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.
The spending during the general election fight, after including investments by supportive political action committees, ended up being over $350 million, according to the data.
It was one of the most expensive Senate races during the 2022 cycle.
Political strategists say that a 2024 battle between Casey and McCormick could exceed that tally.
“Casey and McCormick can both bring more resources to the fight than first-time candidates Oz and Fetterman,” Alex Conant, a former political aide to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and a partner at Firehouse Strategies, told CNBC.
“It’s a presidential year, so media will be even more expensive. Pennsylvania is a must-win state for both parties, so there will be no holding back.”
Christian Ferry, who previously worked for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and late GOP Sen. John McCain, said, “Every cycle these totals continue to go up.”
“And given the competitive nature of the 2022 race and importance of this seat to both sides in a presidential year, I would be not at all surprised to see the total matched and exceeded,” Ferry said.
The race already has outside groups positioning themselves to spend big in the McCormick versus Casey race.
The Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC that backs Democrats running for Senate seats, blasted out an email on Thursday before McCormick’s announcement, taking aim at the former Bridgewater CEO’s business record and how he has lived in Connecticut.
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party published an online video ripping McCormick with a similar message.
McCormick has reportedly been promised the support of the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Americans for Prosperity Action, a super PAC that’s been funded, in part, by Koch Industries, has already endorsed McCormick, a sign that they’re prepared to spend big money to back him over Casey.
McCormick, meanwhile, was spending time at Burch’s historic estate with some of these same wealthy corporate leaders who are likely to help finance a costly campaign.
Burch owns the extravagant Westerly estate in Southampton, on Long Island, New York.
Her residence spans 15,000 square feet and is known to be one of the “biggest houses” in the wealthy Hamptons enclave, according to Architectural Design magazine.
The estate is considered one of the “most important estates on eastern Long Island” and features 25 rooms, including an “enormous ballroom and grand terrace that have set the stage for legendary social events of elite members of Southampton and Palm Beach society,” according to another magazine, leading Estates of the World.
The home also features a “brick carriage house, tennis court, swimming pool, pavilion, and sunken garden adorn the melodious grounds,” the magazine says.
Burch paid approximately $16 million for the estate, according to Newsday.