The departure of Republican Sean Parnell from the disputed Senate race in Pennsylvania is the latest development that threatens to deal a blow to the former president. Donald trumpDonald Trump Rittenhouse Says Biden Slandered His Character By Linking Him To White Supremacists Night Health Care: White House Touts Vaccination Rate For Feds Trump Backs Hogan Challenger In Maryland Governor Race MOREpolitical influence while seeking to maintain its grip on the Republican Party.
Parnell, who emerged as the leading Republican candidate in the race to succeed the retired senator. Pat toomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack Women Seek To Build On Achievements In Upcoming Election Watch Live: Republican Senators Present New Infrastructure Proposal Sasse Reprimanded By Nebraska Republican Party For Impeachment Vote MORE (R-Pa.) After obtaining early endorsement from Trump, he made the decision to suspend his campaign on Monday after a judge ruled that his estranged wife should obtain primary custody of their three children in a case in which she accused him of bodily harm and verbal abuse.
Parnell has vigorously denied the allegations against him. However, the controversies surrounding his personal life and his decision to withdraw from the race are likely to raise further questions about Trump’s political instincts and his status as a kingmaker within the Republican Party.
“Trump doesn’t have a strategy, he doesn’t have plans,” said Keith Naughton, a veteran Republican consultant who has worked in multiple state elections in Pennsylvania. “He just wants to punish his enemies and reward his most loyal sycophants.”
“He really has nothing positive to say,” Naughton added. “It’s all nonstop negativity and trying to assert control over a political party that isn’t really that controllable, and I think it’s getting worse by the day.”
Trump endorsed Parnell, a retired Army Ranger and former Congressional candidate, in September before details of his family history were widely released. The former president had been encouraged by his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., to endorse Parnell.
But after the abuse allegations surfaced, Trump did not revoke his endorsement of Parnell, even as Republican leaders raised concerns about his overall eligibility.
“I think the people around him made him believe that Sean Parnell was the best candidate,” said a Republican from Pennsylvania. “But he had every opportunity to back up, he had a million off ramps and he didn’t take any.”
His exit from the Pennsylvania Senate race was a relief to some Republicans, who feared having Parnell as their nominee could jeopardize the party’s chances of taking Toomey’s seat in one of the most competitive Senate races in the United States. 2022 midterm election cycle.
Republicans need to win just five House seats next year to regain a majority, a goal that seems well within reach given the historic headwinds Democrats face and the huge lead the GOP has in the 10-year process of redistricting.
The battle for control of the Senate, on the other hand, is expected to be more even. The Republican Party needs to win just one seat to regain its majority, which means Democrats can’t afford to give up ground next year. And while Republicans are defending more seats and grappling with a series of retirements, Democrats, already facing a difficult political climate, have seen their poll numbers erode in recent months.
There is little doubt among Republicans that Trump remains a prominent figure on the political landscape, especially in the Republican primaries that will likely be decided by the party’s most conservative voters.
Still, some Republicans have begun to question the extent to which Trump’s desire to elevate loyalists in competitive primaries is compatible with the party’s need to nominate candidates capable of attracting a broader swath of general election voters. many of whom rejected Trump in the 2020 presidential race.
For many in the party, Republican Glenn youngkinGlenn YoungkinVirginia’s Urgent Lesson: Democrats’ Enthusiasm Gap on Downvotes Senate Democrats seek to fix ugly Ocasio-Cortez poll numbers on Virginia gubernatorial race: ‘We weren’t welcome to pitch’ MOREThe victory in the Virginia gubernatorial race earlier this month illustrated the benefits of nominating that candidate. Youngkin managed to run a two-tiered campaign that allowed him to appease Trump’s conservative base, while keeping enough distance from the former president to woo many of the suburban and swing voters who turned away from the Republican Party under Trump.
Trump has been irritated at the idea that he was not the Republican kingmaker in Virginia, a Democratic-leaning state that President BidenJoe BidenRittenhouse says Biden defamed his character when he linked him to white supremacists Man charged with threatening Congress sentenced to 19 months in prison 91 House Democrats ask Senate to expand immigration protections in the U.S. bill Biden expenses PLUS carried by 10 points last year. He has complained that he has not been credited enough for Youngkin’s victory, insisting earlier this month that without him, Youngkin “would have lost by 15 points or more.”
While Republicans once saw loyalty to Trump as a political necessity, especially in the primaries, there is some evidence that this may not be the case anymore.
A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found that nearly seven in 10 Americans would be less likely to vote for a candidate who strongly embraces the former president or who would have no impact on how they vote. Nearly three in 10 Republicans said it doesn’t matter if a candidate strongly embraces Trump.
Still, Parnell’s exit from the Pennsylvania Senate race leaves the Republican primary field without an obvious favorite or favorite. More than half a dozen other Republicans are still vying for the nomination, including real estate developer Jeff Bartos and former Trump ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands.
There are also others who could jump into the race now that Parnell is out. Former Rep. Ryan costelloRyan Anthony CostellloParnell Indictments Shake Up GOP Bid to Keep Pennsylvania Senate Seat Rep. Brendan Boyle Decides Against Pennsylvania Senate Run Pennsylvania Democrat lt. Governor Presents to Run for Senate MORE (R-Pa.), A moderate who has been highly critical of Trump, is said to be considering a Senate run, as is Mehmet Oz, the celebrated physician. Some Pennsylvania Republicans are also encouraging hedge fund executive David McCormick to join the race.
Not all of Trump’s preferred candidates are leaders of worrisome parties. In Georgia, for example, former soccer star Herschel Walker has quickly become the top Republican contender to challenge the senator. Raphael warnockRaphael WarnockCook’s Political Report shifts three Senate races to Republicans Barrels of Congress toward year-end crash Bill seeks to help families of black WWII veterans deprived of GI benefits MORE (D-Ga.), Despite allegations of a controversial personal life and business background.
Walker, who jumped into the race in August after months of prodding from the former president, has since garnered the backing of the Senate’s two top Republicans, Minority Leader. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell Welch to seek a Senate seat in Vermont The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by ExxonMobil – Arbery case, Biden spending bill every test views of justice Senate Democrats seek to fix ugly poll numbers PLUS (R-Ky.) And Minority Whip John thuneJohn Randolph ThuneSchumer-McConnell Cut Debt Ceiling Drama McConnell, Schumer Seek Debt Ceiling Off Ramp The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented By ExxonMobil – Gosar Censored As Republican Drama Escalates MORE (RS.D.).
While there is broad agreement within the Republican Party that Trump will play a pivotal role in the 2022 midterm elections, and especially the Republican primaries, one Republican strategist said that party voters may be looking for more than endorsement as they they begin to review the list. of mid-term candidates.
“No candidate who wants to win can afford to isolate Donald Trump, it is about more than that now,” said the Republican operative. “I think voters are paying more attention to the big picture, if a candidate is viable, if he can win the overall, than to the Trump factor.”