Republican Senate Candidate Sean Parnell, of Pennsylvania, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has announced that he’s suspending his campaign after a judge ruled that his estranged wife should get primary custody of their three children in a case in which she accused him of verbal abuse and strangling her.
As noted by The Hill, Parnell’s exit from the hotly contested Senate race in Pennsylvania to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, is the latest development threatening to deal a blow to Trump’s political clout as he looks to maintain his grip over the GOP.
Parnell has denied the allegations against him. Still, the controversies surrounding his personal life and his decision to remove himself from contention is likely to raise further questions about Trump’s political instincts and status as a kingmaker within the Republican Party, The Hill reporter Max Greenwood wrote.
Greenwood quoted veteran Republican consultant Keith Naughton saying that “Trump’s got no strategy, he’s got no plans. He just wants to punish his enemies and reward his most loyal sycophants.”
“He doesn’t really have anything positive to say,” Naughton added. “It’s all non-stop negativity and trying to assert control over a political party that’s not really that controllable, and I think it’s getting worse by the day.”
Trump threw his support behind Parnell in September before details of his family history were widely publicized. But after the allegations of abuse surfaced, Trump didn’t revoke his endorsement of Parnell, even as Republican leaders expressed concern about his overall electability.
Parnell’s exit from the Pennsylvania Senate race came as a relief to some Republicans, who feared that having Parnell as their nominee could jeopardize the party’s chances of holding Toomey’s seat in one of the most competitive Senate races of the 2022 midterm election cycle.