PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Former congressional candidate Sean Parnell, who lost narrowly to U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb last November, is tossing his hat back into the ring.
But this time it’s for a different office. In an exclusive interview with KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Tuesday morning, Parnell talked about why he’s running for the U.S. Senate.
Republican Parnell, the father of three, hasn’t given up on his desire to serve, but this time he’s aiming higher for the Senate seat that U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is giving up next year.
“I want my children to inherit an America that is rich with opportunity and is vibrant and free,” said Parnell.
“And for the first time in my life, I’m not sure that is going to happen,” he added. “I think right now the mission for me is to protect and preserve the American way of life.”
For Parnell, a wounded combat veteran, the Senate is where the action is.
“You’re always trained as a leader to go where the contact is heaviest on the battlefield because that’s what your soldiers need to see. The Senate, here in Pennsylvania it’s an open seat, that’s where the contact is heaviest.”
The third-generation Pittsburgh native embraces pro-life and pro-Second Amendment views, and he calls himself a defender of the police.
“We should not condemn all police for the actions of a few,” said Parnell.
“Do I support the group, Black Lives Matter? No, I don’t. But do Black lives matter, lower case, Black lives matter? Of course. Gay lives matter, Hispanic lives matter, Asian lives matter. To me, all lives matter.”
Another issue likely in this campaign — Parnell’s lawsuit claiming the state’s no-excuse mail-in ballot system, used by over 2 million Pennsylvanians, is unconstitutional.
Delano: Do you think the election in Pennsylvania in 2020 was fair and an accurate result with respect to all the races on the ballot?
Parnell: Well, I’ll tell you. I don’t. I’m not going to relitigate 2020. Like I told you before, I’m focused on 2022. But I will say regarding the lawsuit I filed on Act 77, I stand by it.
Parnell credits former President Donald Trump with getting him into politics, but no word yet on Trump’s support next year.
“I would hope that I would get his endorsement,” Parnell said.
Still, Parnell said there is room in the GOP for Republicans who do not like Trump.
“We’re a party that welcomes everybody,” Parnell said.
That’s a tough message when U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is about to lose her House leadership position in the Republican Conference for her anti-Trump views. Parnell calls that “Washington drama.”
Jon Delano, KDKA, May 11