“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.
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.
Democrats running for Senate include Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb — who defeated Parnell in a close congressional race last year.
Trump said Parnell, a friend of Donald Trump Jr., 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. He has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
In response to the endorsement, Parnell said on Twitter he’ll “always fight for our America First agenda and will never back down to the radical left.”
“To say that I am proud of President Trump’s endorsement would be a massive understatement,” he added in a statement.
Parnell, of Allegheny County, filed a lawsuit after last year’s election 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 never conceded the race.
He 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.
The Pennsylvania Senate race is one of many GOP primaries that will test Trump’s enduring influence in the party. The former president also made an early endorsement in North Carolina’s Senate race, but other prominent Republicans in that state are backing a better-known candidate.