According to many Republicans inside and outside Keystone State, the list of GOP candidates could expand in the coming weeks, including hedge fund executive David McCormick and daytime TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz.
“You have an open and flexible field right now in Pennsylvania,” said Charlie Dent, a former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania and a CNN contributor.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey is not running for re-election, and Democrats see the seat as one of their top picks as they head into the 2022 midterm. No Parnell is the man. Leading the way for the GOP nomination, Republicans hope to defend a seat held by a member of their party in all but two of the past 52 years.
McCormick, a former Treasury Department official under President George W. Bush, is a native of Pennsylvania and a graduate of West Point. For many years he lived in Connecticut, where his hedge fund was located, but Republicans in Pennsylvania tried to recruit McCormick back into the state.
“There was quick outreach from Republican leaders, both in Pennsylvania and nationally, as well as sponsors, to have Dave in the race,” said a person close to McCormick. people close to McCormick said. “Parnell’s departure has clearly created a loophole that he is taking seriously.”
Pennsylvania Republicans were even more confused when Oz, an Ohio-born doctor who attended medical school in Philadelphia and lived in New Jersey, was considering a run. Oz’s interest in this race was first reported on the Washington Free Beacon and Politico, but the host of the Dr. Oz Show in a 2007 interview said in a 2007 interview that he would “consider” running for office one day, calling himself a “moderate Republican”.
Representatives for Oz did not respond to CNN’s questions about his plans, but Republicans acknowledged that his celebrity could be a key player in a wide-ranging race. .
“This crowd is too big and unknown,” said one GOP employee.
Parnell’s departure and the possibility of getting new candidates in the primaries, which already include Carla Sands and Jeff Bartos, have given Republicans a second chance to place their field behind weeks regarding developments with Parnell’s candidacy after former President Donald Trump endorsed him.
A military veteran and former House candidate, Parnell has faced increasing scrutiny over his personal life amid ongoing divorce and custody battles. The allegations against Parnell from his estranged wife, Laurie Snell, have some Republicans concerned about his ability to run for office. Snell has accused Parnell of physically abusing her and injuring their children twice, a claim Parnell has denied.
“Nothing is more important to me than my children, and while I intend to ask the court to reconsider, I cannot continue to campaign in the Senate,” Parnell said in a statement.
Parnell spoke with Trump on Monday to inform him of her plans, according to Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich. It is unclear whether the former President supported another in the primaries, although he has ties to many current and potential candidates.
Sands, a Republican fundraiser born in Pennsylvania, served under Trump as ambassador to Denmark, while McCormick’s wife is Dina Powell, who served as a national security official in the United States. Trump’s White House and remains close to Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
And in 2018, Trump appointed Oz to the Presidential Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. (Another Trump appointee to the panel, Herschel Walker, is running for the Republican Senate nomination in Georgia and has Trump’s endorsement.)
“I can see Trump sitting out if both are involved,” said a Republican staffer close to the former president, referring to McCormick and Oz. “Or Oz doesn’t run, and Trump just goes all out for Dave.”
Pennsylvania Democrats also have a competitive primaries, with Lieutenant General John Fetterman and Representative Conor Lamb among those vying for the nomination. Republicans in the state say the primaries could drag the eventual Democratic nominee too far to the left in a turnaround where winning suburban voters is key to victory.
With the projected nationwide advantage for Republicans in next year’s midterm elections across the country, Dent says the best Trump can do in Keystone State is stay out of the primaries. GOP.
“Republicans have a clear advantage going into the 2022 midterms, they just have to not blow it up. And not blowing it up requires former President Trump to behave constructively,” Dent said. “That would really be constructive, not out of the way of the main goal.”
CNN’s Sara Murray and Sunlen Serfaty contributed to this report.