The first Pennsylvania Republican has reached the highest level of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Gun program.
Sean Parnell, a combat veteran and conservative author who is seeking the GOP nomination for the 17th Congressional District, was added in the NRCC’s second round of selections for the program aimed at mentoring and supporting Republican candidates with resources to help run a successful campaign.
“We are proud to promote such a diverse group of candidates to the final phase of the Young Guns program,” said House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. “As we move closer to Election Day, these candidates have shown they stand in stark contrast to their Democratic opponents and have the structure in place to come out victorious in November.”
In Parnell’s “Young Gun” bio page, it details his military service and adds that he “has quietly become one of America’s most influential advocates for our military.” Parnell is currently one of just 22 candidates thus far to achieve the “Young Gun” status for the program. Former Lehigh County Commissioner and businesswoman Lisa Scheller, who is seeking the GOP nod in the 7th Congressional District, is currently a “contender” in the program, which is the second phase of the three part program. Jim Bognet, a former Trump administration appointee, and Earl Granville, a decorated combat veteran and veterans’ advocate, who are both seeking the Republican nomination in the 8th Congressional District, are both “on the radar” for the program, which is the first phase.
Parnell is currently the lone Republican seeking his party’s nomination for the 17th Congressional District to face Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Allegheny).
Lamb is currently serving his first full term in Congress, but was first elected in March 2018 by narrowly winning a special election in the Trump friendly old 18th District. Lamb bested Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny) for the newly drawn 17th District by 13 points in boundaries that narrowly supported Trump in 2016.
President Donald Trump has boosted Parnell’s candidacy on multiple occasions during his bid for the office; first endorsing him for the seat in December, when he was one of three candidates in the race, and most recently tweeting his support for his bid a few days ago while describing Lamb as an “American fraud, and a puppet for Crazy Nancy Pelosi” and incorrectly saying that Lamb voted for Pelosi for Speaker, although the Allegheny County Democrat issued his support for Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA).
The Cook Political Report currently has the seat held by Lamb listed as “Likely Democratic” for 2020.