HARRISBURG, Pa. — Sean Parnell, the leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s hotly-contested race to replace outgoing Sen. Pat Toomey next year, has withdrawn his candidacy.
Parnell, previously assumed to be a shoe-in for the party’s nomination after receiving the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, removed himself from the race after domestic abuse allegations by his estranged wife were made public.
Sean Parnell has suspended his campaign to represent Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate, after a court order made public on Monday granted the Republican’s estranged wife sole legal custody and primary physical custody of the pair’s three children.
Parnell’s wife, Laurie Snell, has accused him of a litany of abuses, ranging from choking her and striking one of their children, to trying to convince her to have an abortion when she was six months pregnant, according to media reports.
Republicans have struggled to draft candidates with solid name recognition, with the most prominent of the remaining candidates arguably being Jeff Bartos, a real estate developer who was the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018.
The name recognition issue may be solved by an unlikely contender: Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon and TV personality whose eponymous medical talk show has been on the air since 2009.
Yes, Dr. Oz is serious about running for the Senate.
The famous TV physician’s prospective campaign for an open Senate seat in Pennsylvania remains a hush-hush affair — no one so far has admitted to working on it and the consultants thought to be involved are remaining tight-lipped. But Mehmet Oz is searching for a scheduler and policy director, according to a person contacted about the jobs. He has also recently looked for a home in the Philadelphia suburbs, another source said.
It’s a sign of the unsettled nature of the current GOP primary field, which has party insiders alarmed by the absence of a strong candidate in one of the nation’s most important Senate races.
The winner of the Republican primary is likely slated to face off against one of two major Democratic candidates next November: Rep. Conor Lamb, a moderate whose first foray into Congress was marked by a narrow 2019 special election victory in a Republican-leaning suburban district; or Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, an avowed leftist who previously served as mayor of Braddock, a dying steel town in Allegheny County.
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