Pa. Republican Senate candidate Sean Parnell suspends marketing campaign | Information | Pittsburgh
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Photo: Courtesy of the campaign
Republican Senate candidate and Pittsburgh resident Sean Parnell has suspended his election campaign.
The news comes right after the release of a ruling by a Butler County judge ruling a custody case against Parnell, granting sole legal and primary custody of her three children to Laurie Snell, Parnell’s estranged wife. It had been rumored that Parnell would be eliminated from the race if Parnell lost the custody case.
In a statement, Parnell said he would ask the court to reconsider the custody case, but until then he cannot continue his campaign for the open seat in the US Senate in Pennsylvania.
“I can’t go on with a Senate campaign,” Parnell said. “My focus is now 100% on my children and I want them to know that I have no other priorities and that I will never stop fighting for them.”
Parnell, an Army veteran, writer, and Fox News employee who lives in Sewickley, had applied for custody of the children but his case was turned down. Senior Judge James Arner ruled in Snell’s favor. Parnell will have partial custody of the three children three weekends a month.
The custody case caught national attention when Snell’s affidavit alleged that Parnell once choked her, physically beat and yelled at her children, and told her to have an abortion early in their relationship.
In his affidavit, Parnell vehemently denied these allegations, saying that his relationship with his children was happy and loving. He also claimed that Snell was the one who was with him physically.
But Judge Arner ultimately sided with Snell, saying he found that Parnell had committed some abuse in the past and “makes no determination of what exactly happened or did not happen”. Arner added that the said incidents are long in the past and did not affect Parnell’s and Snell’s children, but Arner said they were not relevant to the custody decision.
Arner added that there was no evidence that Snell committed any abuse and the children were not worried about their safety. Ultimately, Arner granted custody to Snell, but wrote in his decision that “both parents are equally able to provide adequate physical security and supervision”.
Parnell was backed by former President Donald Trump and was considered a front runner in the Republican nomination for the Pennsylvania Senate seat, left open by incumbent Pat Toomey (R-Lehigh), who is retiring and will not be re-elected.
There are several other candidates for the open Senate seat, including many on the Republican side, including business owner Jeff Bartos (R-Montgomery), political commentator Kathy Barnette (R-Montgomery), former Montgomery County Commission nominee Sean Gale (R -Montgomery). ), former US Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands (R-Cumberland) and businessman Everett Stern (R-Philadelphia).
Even before Parnell’s apparent campaign suspension, there were rumors that more candidates were interested in the Senate race, a sign that Parnell might not wait long for the campaign. The rumors included former US MP Keith Rothfus, a Sewickley lawyer. Another alleged candidate is Mehmet Oz, host of the television program Dr. Oz, although it is unclear how strong his ties to Pennsylvania are and his primary residence is in New Jersey.
Parnell sparked controversy even before he announced his candidacy for the Senate. First reported by Pittsburgh City Paper, Parnell said on a September 2019 appearance on Fox News broadcast that he thought advances in women’s rights were “nonsense.”
“The idea that a woman doesn’t need a man to be successful, the idea that a woman doesn’t need a man to have a baby, the idea that a woman can have a happy and fulfilling life without a man, I think it’s all nonsense, ”Parnell said in 2019. (He later claimed on social media that he was joking, but only after City Paper asked him to comment on the Fox News appearance.)
His comments on women were revealed during his unsuccessful US House bid against incumbent US Representative Conor Lamb (D-Mt. Lebanon). After losing that race, which he never conceded, Parnell successfully sued the Commonwealth over its mail-in electoral law, despite expressing support for voters with mail-in votes earlier this year. His lawsuit was dismissed by the courts. Even so, he backed a controversial electoral test of the Pennsylvania 2020 election after initially saying he didn’t.
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party said Parnell’s campaign suspension will only fuel the already chaotic Republican Senate primaries.
“Today’s developments will only add further chaos to the Pennsylvania Republican Senate primaries,” Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesman Jack Doyle said in a statement. “The vicious power struggle between the GOP Senate candidates in this race is sure to intensify, and by the time this GOP primary is over, voters will have seen why no Republican candidate can be trusted to represent Pennsylvania in the Senate.”
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