Republican Sean Parnell fell short in his 2020 candidacy for a House seat, but sources say his intentions on running for the Senate seat of retiring Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., in 2022 are serious.
Parnell, met with National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and other Republican leaders in Washington last week, sources told Politico.
Parnell, a U.S. combat veteran, tweeted Sunday is being targeted in attack ads even before he has made a decision to run for Senate, a sure sign he is feared by Democrats:
".@SenSchumer is running ads attacking me in Pennsylvania & I’m not a candidate for Senate. 🤔 But if I do decide to run, I'll be sure to list this as an in-kind contribution."
Parnell lost a close race to Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., by a mere 2 points this past November after raising $4 million for a high-profile House race. Lamb might ultimately set up a rematch for the Senate seat.
"Sean is getting significant support and encouragement to run for Senate all across Pennsylvania," Ian Prior, a Parnell 2020 campaign spokesman, told Politico in a statement. "People have had enough of the [Joe] Biden agenda after only 100 days, and view Sean as the best candidate to win in 2022 and join a new Republican majority in the Senate."
Parnell is doing his "due diligence" and "measuring the terrain" for a potential Senate campaign, Prior added.
"But Sean fully understands the gravity of the need for a fighter to ensure that Pennsylvanians have a senator that will stop the leftist agenda in its tracks," Prior told Politico.
Parnell has close ties to Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the former president.
The race figures to be crowded with real estate developer Jeff Bartos' $1.1 million warchest already building momentum.
Former Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite, former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands, attorney Sean Gale, and former congressional nominee Kathy Barnette have already declared for the race, Politico reported.
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