Parnell gets Trump endorsement in Pennsylvania Senate race

Regional News

FILE – In this Sept. 22, 2020 file photo, Sean Parnell walks through people gathered at a campaign rally for President Donald Trump at the Pittsburgh International Airport in Moon Township, Pa. Parnell, a decorated veteran and regular guest on Fox News programs who became a favorite of former President Donald Trump, is expected to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat Tuesday May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday gave an endorsement in Pennsylvania’s crowded U.S. Senate field, backing Republican Sean Parnell in what is expected to be one of the nation’s most competitive Senate contests in next year’s election.

Parnell, a former Army Ranger who penned a memoir of his service in Afghanistan, was already getting enthusiastic support from Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

Parnell became politically active in recent years, running unsuccessfully for Congress last year and landing a coveted speaking slot at the 2020 Republican National Convention. The Democratic field includes Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, who narrowly beat Parnell last year for re-election to his Pittsburgh-area seat.

The Senate seat is opening up with the retirement in 2023 of two-term Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey. On last year’s campaign trail, Parnell embraced Trump’s positions and rhetoric, and has repeated shout-outs on Twitter from Trump Jr., with whom he is friendly.

In a seven-sentence statement, Trump said Parnell “has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Parnell will “make Pennsylvania very proud and will fight for Election Integrity, Strong Borders, our Second Amendment, Energy Jobs, and so much more,” Trump said.

The crowded Republican field includes conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, real estate investor Jeff Bartos, Carla Sands, Trump’s ambassador to Denmark, and Craig Snyder, a lobbyist and political consultant who is running as an anti-Trump Republican.

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