US Senate candidate Dave McCormick attends fundraiser co-hosted by Capitol riot attendee

Dave McCormick

Days after the third anniversary of former President Donald Trump supporters’ deadly insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick attended a fundraiser co-hosted by a Pennsylvania Republican State Committee member who took photos of himself outside the U.S. Capitol on the day of the riot.

McCormick, who is running to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in the November 2024 election while reportedly living in a $16 million mansion in Connecticut, attended the Jan. 10 fundraiser co-hosted by J. Ross Stewart, a Republican state committeeman for Somerset County in Pennsylvania.

The Republican candidate’s attendance at the fundraiser was first reported by The Keystone. McCormick’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Stewart, a supporter of right-wing politicians such as McCormick, Trump and Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano — a failed gubernatorial candidate, election denier and key figure in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election won by President Joe Biden — posted about last week’s fundraiser on his LinkedIn account.

“It was wonderful to see my friend, Dave McCormick, the next U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania, again, and see so many friends this evening at NyKo’s in Johnstown,” Stewart wrote.

Stewart posted photos and video from the crowd that gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. On that day, armed rioters attempted to overthrow a democratically elected government in a fatal attack that followed a months-long campaign by Trump, a Republican, to claim victory in the 2020 presidential election that he lost both nationally and in Pennsylvania. The rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building in an attempt to stop the certification of Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 election.

At least seven people died in connection to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack, and about 150 officers from the Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police Department and other security agencies were injured.

During the Jan. 6 attack, the right-wing mob that gathered outside the U.S. Capitol flew Confederate and Trump flags and called for the deaths of those who stood in the way of Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, including former Vice President Mike Pence. Trump supporters built a gallows and chanted “Hang Mike Pence” on the Capitol lawn.

Other than being in the crowd outside the U.S. Capitol, there is no evidence to suggest that Stewart was involved in any of the violence that occurred during Jan. 6, 2021, and he condemned it on social media.

“Scenes from today in D.C. (took some time off, and the violence is unacceptable),” Stewart wrote in his Facebook caption on Jan. 6, 2021.

Last week’s fundraiser was held in Johnstown, a city located about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh, and was co-hosted by Jim Vasilko, a local businessman who in 2020 told The Tribune-Democrat that he wanted to throw rocks at Biden supporters’ homes.

“When I see a Biden sign, like I just want to like throw a rock through their window because the way I look at it is that person is trying to crush my business,” Vasilko told the paper.

Casey, who leads McCormick 53-43% in a Quinnipiac poll released Jan. 10, criticized his Republican opponent’s attendance at last week’s fundraiser.

“I’ve never held a fundraiser with a January 6th attendee,” the senator tweeted. “My opponent David McCormick can’t say the same.”

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party also issued criticism of McCormick and said in a press release that the candidate’s attendance at the fundraiser is emblematic of a long list of ties to election deniers.

The press release cites the McCormick campaign paying nearly $40,000 to Michael Roman, a former political operative for Trump who has been accused of plotting to overturn the results of Georgia’s presidential election in 2020, which was originally reported by the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. The Capital-Star also reported that McCormick shared the stage at an August fundraiser with Sam DeMarco III, a Pennsylvania Republican who’s connected to Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s release highlighted that Mastriano endorsed McCormick and that McCormick has never denounced Mastriano’s attendance at the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.