The timing of the announcement was unusual, coming weeks before the Nov. 3 election when he isn’t on the ballot. Pennsylvania stands as a crucial state in the fight for the presidency between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
The Philadelphia Inquirer was first to report on Toomey’s plans.
Toomey, who served in the House from 1999 to 2005, focused on fiscal issues and reining in government spending to fuel his bid for the Senate seat that he won in 2010. He served as the president of the anti-tax Club for Growth between his congressional terms.
A member of the Senate’s Budget, Banking and Finance committees, he played a major role in the tax-cutting bill that Congress passed in 2017.
Toomey joined forces in April 2013 with Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) on legislation that would strengthen gun laws by expanding background checks to include unlicensed gun-show dealers and online sales. The two senators introduced the measure after the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 people, most of them children.
The legislation faced strong opposition from the National Rifle Association and fell five votes short of the 60 necessary to overcome a filibuster. More recent efforts to revive the bill, including a push after the February 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., were undermined by political forces that have thwarted gun-control measures.
In 2016, Toomey narrowly won his seat, defeating Democrat Kathleen McGinty, as Trump ended a long streak for Democrats in winning Pennsylvania.
Toomey first claimed the Senate seat in 2010 after longtime Sen. Arlen Specter switched parties from Republican to Democrat following widespread criticism for backing President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package. But in the Democratic primary, Rep. Joe Sestak defeated Specter. Toomey narrowly edged out Sestak in 2010 as Republicans capitalized on the energy of the tea party movement and opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
Paul Kane contributed to this report.