Trump-Aligned Candidates Seen Doing Well in Battleground Pennsylvania

(USA Features) Former President Donald Trump continues to loom large within the Republican Party, as evidenced in Senate and gubernatorial races already beginning to take shape in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

Early Republican favorites in Pennsylvania races for U.S. Senate and governor are both Trump allies, The Associated Press reported Saturday.

Lou Barletta and Sean Parnell both entered the race for governor and U.S. Senate, respectively, and within a few days of each other, after Trump urged both to run for prior offices.

“Donald Trump is still the leader of the Republican Party and anybody who believes otherwise, they don’t know what they’re talking about, and especially in Pennsylvania,” Barletta told former Trump adviser Steve Bannon his “War Room” podcast.

Both men have longstanding ties to the former president.

Barletta co-chaired Trump’s 2016 campaign in the state and was loyal to him while he was in Congress. Trump, in turn, endorsed him for U.S. Senate in 2018 and he watched the Super Bowl that year with Trump. He was also one of the former president’s hand-picked electors in Pennsylvania and has since hired Trump campaign vets to run his own, the AP noted.

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Meanwhile, Parnell, who is a frequent Fox News guest, received several shoutouts from Trump on Twitter and during campaign rallies in his unsuccessful bid for Congress last year. He would go on to land a heralded speaking slot at the Republican National Convention last August. And Parnell is friends with Donald Trump Jr., getting praise from the presidential son on Twitter after he announced his U.S. Senate candidacy.

“If Trump is toxic for Republicans, as some in the party believe, it isn’t showing,” the AP reported.

“Republican voters seem unaffected in their support for Trump-backed candidates, said Jim Lee, president of Susquehanna Polling and Research, whose polls include voter surveys and polls for Republican candidates,” the report added.