Trump-backed Senate candidate in Pennsylvania to suspend campaign: report

Trump-backed Senate candidate in Pennsylvania to suspend campaign: report
Comes after Republican’s ex-wife gained full custody of their children

Former president Donald Trump’s preferred Senate candidate in Pennsylvania is set to suspend his campaign after his estranged wife gained full custody of their children, Politico reported.

Sean Parnell, a former congressional candidate, reportedly informed Mr Trump about his decision after Laurie Snell, Mr Parnell’s estranged wife, gained full custody of their children.

Ms Snell alleged that Mr Parnell choked her and left her on the side of the road telling her to get an abortion as well as saying that he abused their two children, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Mr Parnell vehemently denied the allegations, saying when presented with a picture allegedly showing a hand-sized welt on his son’s back, “that is not a picture of my son,” according to WESA.

Mr Parnell released a statement saying he was focused entirely on his family at the moment, The New York Times reported.

“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,” Mr Parnell said. “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.”

Mr Trump had endorsed Mr Parnell to replace Republican Sen Pat Toomey, who is retiring at the end of his term and who had voted to convict Mr Trump.

“He will do all of the things that Toomey is incapable of doing. Sean Parnell will represent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the way it should be represented — and it’s about,” the former president said in September when he endorsed Mr Parnell.

Mr Trump won Pennsylvania during his first presidential campaign in 2016 but lost it in 2020, but has used allegations without any evidence of impropriety to promote the Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Mr Parnell’s exit likely opens the Republican field in a year that is widely expected to be a good midterm election for Republicans. Moreover, it allows another Republican to earn Mr Trump’s blessing.

Television star Dr Mehmet Oz has reportedly expressed interest in potentially running as a Republican.