Sean Parnell, the Republican candidate for United States Senate in Pennsylvania who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, suspended his campaign on Monday after a family court judge awarded Laurie Snell, the mother of Parnell’s kids from whom he is separated, primary physical custody and sole legal custody of their three children. Parnell’s visitation rights will be limited to a couple of weekends a month.

“I strongly disagree with the ruling today and I’m devastated by the decision. There is nothing more important to me than my children, and while I plan to ask the court to reconsider, I can’t continue with a Senate campaign. My focus right now is 100% on my children, and I want them to know I do not have any other priorities and will never stop fighting for them,” Parnell said in a statement.

“Ms. Snell is grateful that justice prevailed,” Snell’s attorneys said. “She has been awarded sole legal and primary physical custody of their children. She will continue, as always, to focus on their best interests.”

The ruling comes amid bitter court battles between Parnell and Snell, who has accused her estranged husband of abusing herself and their kids. Parnell has denied the allegations.


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Monday’s development could have an enormous impact on the political landscape heading into the 2022 midterms. Parnell and his Democratic opponent, Lieutenant Governor Dan Fetterman, are locked in a tight race for retiring incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey‘s seat. With the chamber deadlocked in a 50-50 split between the GOP and Democrats, control of the body could hinge on this race.

It remains unclear who will step in to replace Parnell on the GOP’s ticket, Dr. Oz has expressed interest in the race.

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