Trump endorses Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania’s 2022 Senate race

Sean Parnell is shown at a President Donald Trump rally in September 2020 in Pittsburgh. The Army veteran won a coveted prize, Trump's endorsement, Wednesday in the competitive 2022 Republican Senate primary. (Niyi Fote/TheNEWS2/Zuma Press/TNS)
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Andrew Seidman The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)

PHILADELPHIA — Former President Donald Trump endorsed Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania’s critical U.S. Senate race Wednesday, giving the Army veteran a coveted prize in the competitive 2022 Republican primary.

“Sean bravely fought for our Country as a Captain in the U.S. Army and was awarded two Bronze Stars (one for valor!) and the Purple Heart,” Trump said in a statement. “Unlike our current administration, he never left anyone behind.”

The early endorsement is a blow to several other Pennsylvania Republicans who had been jockeying for Trump’s support, including Jeff Bartos, a Lower Merion real estate developer; Kathy Barnette, a conservative commentator from Huntingdon Valley; and Carla Sands, who served as Trump’s ambassador to Denmark. Just one major candidate — Craig Snyder, a Philadelphia lobbyist and former nonprofit executive — is actively running as an anti-Trump Republican.

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The race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is seen as one of the most competitive in the country. It will help determine control of the Senate after the midterm elections and the future of President Joe Biden’s agenda.

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

“Sean Parnell will always put America First,” Trump said. “He has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Parnell, of Allegheny County, ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year against U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, who’s now running in the Democratic Senate primary. After the election, Parnell filed a lawsuit that sought to throw out all 2.6 million mail ballots cast in Pennsylvania, arguing that a 2019 state law that expanded mail voting was unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was dismissed in November by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which said the plaintiffs had waited too long to bring the lawsuit and rejected their proposed remedy as too extreme.

“It is not our role to lend legitimacy to such transparent and untimely efforts to subvert the will of Pennsylvania voters,” Justice David N. Wecht wrote in an opinion concurring with the full court’s order.

In his statement Wednesday, Trump falsely said Parnell “got robbed” in his campaign last year — what Trump called “the 2020 Presidential Election Scam.”

Parnell had already secured the endorsement of Donald Trump Jr.

Parnell earned a Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart in Afghanistan. He’s been a vocal critic of Biden’s handling of the military withdrawal from that country.

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