Sean Parnell suspends candidacy for Pennsylvania state senate seat

State Senator Jim Ferlo, a Democrat, has not decided whether to continue with his campaign

Republican Sean Parnell has suspended his Senate candidacy, the party has announced.

Parnell was one of two Republicans running for the seat vacated by Pat Toomey, who announced in March that he would not seek reelection to the Pennsylvania senate seat.

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The Westmoreland County senator had been in a tight race with John Mayock, who is also a Republican.

Pennsylvania Democrats hope the seat will fall in their party’s column after the Republicans have held it since 1979.

State Senator Jim Ferlo, a Democrat, who is running for the senate seat, has not yet announced whether he will continue with his campaign. He could not be reached for comment.

Pennsylvania Senator Harris Barbour tweeted: “I’ve known Sean Parnell for years and he is an honest and principled man. Appreciate the job Sean did for UPA. This is a senseless change.”

There were 1,697 active candidates in the race in April, although counting from a filing period in late July and early August, there are now 1,119 candidates for the seat, a state official said.

The seat is believed to be one of the more competitive in the state as more Republicans are resigning. State senator Scott Wagner said in June that he would resign from his seat, which would allow him to run for governor.

The seat is critical for the party as it would have been contested even if Walsh had been undecided.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Pennsylvania ranked first in the nation in terms of number of Republican to Democratic appointees in 2016. Democrats “must carry every Republican-held seat, including this one, to reach a two-thirds majority of 51 seats in the 80-member chamber”, a piece by the Journal states.

In a statement posted on his website, Parnell’s said: “We have fallen short. Both myself and my campaign will be greatly weakened by this inexcusable action.

“Loss of fundraising potential is of course a bad start, but I will never give up.”

A spokesman for the state Republican party also tweeted that the party had not asked Parnell to end his campaign.

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