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Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Sean Parnell suspends campaign after losing custody battle

Republican Sean Parnell has suspended his Pennsylvania Senate campaign, after he lost a custody battle for his children.

His estranged wife, Laurie Snell, has accused him of abuse, testifying in court earlier this month that he hit and choked her and slapped one of their children. She also said Parnell would call her derogatory names and scream at her in front of their three kids. A judge ruled on Monday that Snell will have sole legal custody, with Parnell able to see the children up to three weekends a month.

The GOP hopes to retain the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey, in a state that was won by President Biden in 2020. Parnell was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, who campaigned with him in September, and considered the frontrunner in the Republican primary. In a statement, Parnell said he was "devastated" by the judge's ruling, adding, "while I plan to ask the court to reconsider, I can't continue with a Senate campaign." Before he publicly announced his decision to suspend his campaign, Parnell called Trump to let him know, a person familiar with the matter told Politico.

Trump continued to support Parnell after Snell's allegations came to light, and was going to hold a fundraiser for him at his Mar-a-Lago club in January. He did, however, show disappointment in being tied to Parnell, a person familiar with the matter told Politico, and blamed his son Donald Trump Jr., who is friends with Parnell, for pushing the endorsement.