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The move by Parnell, who enjoyed the backing of former President Donald Trump, came a couple of hours after he lost a bitter fight for custody of his three children to his estranged wife, who in court testimony had accused Parnell of abuse.
Parnell called Trump to alert the former president of his decision to suspend his Senate campaign, Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for the former president, said.
“I strongly disagree with the ruling today and I’m devastated by the decision. I plan on asking the court to reconsider this decision,” Parnell said in a statement.
“In the order, two of the leading factors that weighed heavily in the judge’s decision revolved around me being a leading U.S. Senate candidate. 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. 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,” he emphasized.
During her testimony in the trial, Parnell’s estranged wife Laurie Snell accused him of physically and verbally abusing her and hitting two of their three children. Parnell vehemently denied the accusations.
FILE – In this Sept. 22, 2020 file photo, Sean Parnell walks through people gathered at a campaign rally for then-President Donald Trump at the Pittsburgh International Airport in Moon Township, Pa. Parnell suspended his Senate campaign in Pennsylvania on Nov. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File) (AP )
Parnell was one of nearly a dozen Republican candidates running in the 2022 midterm elections to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey in a field that may soon gain more contenders.
Seven Democrats are running for their party’s Senate nomination in Pennsylvania. The high-profile race could ultimately decide if the Democrats hold on to their razor-thin majority in the chamber.