Trump-endorsed Republican Sean Parnell will suspend Pennsylvania Senate campaign after losing custody battle amid abuse allegations from estranged wife


Sean Parnell

Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Sean Parnell.AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

  • Sean Parnell will suspend his 2022 Senate campaign amid turmoil over his child custody battle.

  • Parnell’s estranged wife was awarded primary custody and sole legal custody of their three children.

  • Parnell, an Army veteran and 2020 House candidate, had been endorsed by former President Trump.

Republican Sean Parnell, who was backed by former President Donald Trump in the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, announced on Monday that he is suspending his campaign.

Parnell has informed Trump of the decision, according to a Politico report.

On Monday, a judge in Butler County, Pennsylvania, awarded Parnell’s wife, Laurie Snell, primary custody and sole legal custody of their three children, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

In a statement, Parnell said that he planned to focus his energy on his children.

“I strongly disagree with the ruling today and I’m devastated by the decision. I plan on asking the court to reconsider this decision. In the order, two of the leading factors that weighed heavily in the judge’s decision revolved around me being a leading US Senate candidate,” he said.

“There is nothing more important to me than my children, and while I plan to ask the court to reconsider, I can’t continue with a Senate campaign,” Parnell went on to say. “My focus right now is 100% on my children, and I want them to know I do not have any other priorities and will never stop fighting for them.”

In recent months, Parnell’s candidacy had faced scrutiny over allegations that he abused his estranged wife and children, which he vehemently denied.

Two temporary protection-from-abuse orders sought by Parnell’s wife were issued in 2017 and 2018, according to The Inquirer.

After a hearing, neither of the orders were extended, and they were eventually expunged, per The Inquirer.

However, the court battle created consternation among many Republicans, who view the Pennsylvania race as critical in their hopes of regaining a Senate majority.

Parnell, an Army veteran who ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb in 2020, had clear conservative bonafides and a coveted Trump seal of approval — but the race lacked a major Republican officeholder who could assuage party donors and activists concerned about electability.

With Parnell out of the race, candidates including Jeff Bartos, a real estate developer, and Carla Sands, who served as the US ambassador to Denmark under Trump, remain in contention for the nomination.

And Dr. Mehmet Oz, the cardiothoracic surgeon and famed television personality, has made some behind-the-scenes moves to potentially jump into the race as a Republican.

Last November, now-President Joe Biden won the state by 1% over Trump, and his win in the swing state clinched his overall electoral victory.

Democrats see the state as one of their best pickup opportunities in their quest to retain control of the upper chamber.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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