By Jeffrey Rodack
Pennsylvania Republicans eyeing a shot at the Senate in 2022 will likely face a primary field stacked with ardent supporters of former President Donald Trump, which may make it difficult to stand out as the contenders try to out-MAGA their opponents.
One potential frontrunner who’s already had discussions with state party leaders is Sean Parnell, a former congressional candidate who spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention and is friends with Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., Politico reported.
“My friend @SeanParnellUSA is a strong America First conservative and has my support for any office he decided to run for in 2022,” Trump Jr. tweeted in February.
Current congressmen Mike Kelly and Guy Reschenthaler — both Trump loyalists — are also possible contenders. Also considering entering the race: Kenneth Braithwaite, who served as Trump’s Secretary of the Navy; Carla Sands, Trump’s ambassador to Denmark; and John Giordano, a member of Trump’s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in 2019.
Politico noted that Jeff Bartos, a real estate developer, donated money for GOP poll watchers at the Philadelphia Convention Center in 2020 and also traveled to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort, for a recent GOP donors retreat.
“Donald Trump represented someone listening to millions of Pennsylvanians who felt like no one was fighting for them,” Bartos said in a ad released in March.
But not everyone is looking to carry the flag of the former president. Ex-Rep. Ryan Costello, a Trump critic, has also expressed interest in the campaign. And 2020 congressional candidate Kathy Barnette and attorney Sean Gale have announced they will run.