Pennsylvania Senate: Which Candidate Is the Primary Prescription for Republicans?

December 17, 2021

Of the five open seats Republicans are defending in 2022, Pennsylvania, on paper, should be its hardest. It’s one of just two states (Wisconsin being the other) held currently by the GOP that President Biden carried in 2020. A favorable political environment should help buoy Republicans, but worries over candidate quality have already beset their primary.

It likely came as a relief to many that former congressional candidate Sean Parnell, an Army veteran who had former President Trump’s endorsement, dropped out of the race last month. The disturbing headlines had been piling up against him in the state amid a contentious custody hearing with his estranged wife where she alleged Parnell had abused both her and their children. He denied the allegations, but the judge awarded custody to his former spouse. Parnell ended his candidacy soon thereafter.

Parnell’s chief challenger, former Lt. Gov. nominee Jeff Bartos, had been the most aggressive in attacking the Bronze Star recipient over the abuse allegations, but it’s not clear that Bartos will benefit that much from Parnell’s aborted candidacy. That’s because

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