PENNSYLVANIA — Today Politico’s Playbook newsletter highlighted the chaos Trump has caused in GOP primaries with his impulsive endorsements, which national Republicans have begged him to stop doing.
OOPS, HE DID IT AGAIN — It’s no secret that Trump’s endorsements have been impulsive, and it looks like he jumped the gun again by giving an early nod to SEAN PARNELL in the open Pennsylvania Senate race. Republicans we talked to in Washington and Trump-world are clearly worried since the news broke this week that Parnell requested a gag order on his estranged wife LAURIE and her lawyer during their custody battle. Shortly after Trump endorsed Parnell in September, rival JEFF BARTOS revealed that Parnell’s wife filed two protective orders against him in 2017 and 2018. Both were expunged, but some Republicans worry that there may be more shoes to drop.
It’s happened over and over: Trump endorses a seriously flawed candidate early in the primary race, even though he’s been accused of domestic abuse already — in the case of HERSCHEL WALKER in Georgia — or faces such allegations soon after, in the case of MAX MILLER in Ohio. Miller and Walker deny the accusations. There’s also ERIC GREITENS in Missouri, who Trump hasn’t endorsed but has a team stacked with former Trump staffers and loyalists, including KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE.
But Parnell may be in a tighter spot than Walker or Miller, whose opponent, Rep. ANTHONY GONZALEZ (R-Ohio), recently dropped out. JOE BIDEN won Pennsylvania by just over a percentage point. Parnell has some tough competition in the primary — not only Bartos but fundraiser and former ambassador CARLA SANDS. And he lacks the star power of Walker, an NFL legend.
“Sean Parnell can’t score touchdowns, so this is a little different,” said one Republican operative.