Sean Parnell, GOP challenger to Conor Lamb, gets high-profile speaking slot at RNC


    TribLIVE’s Daily and Weekly email newsletters deliver the news you want and information you need, right to your inbox.

    Murrysville native and former Army Ranger Sean Parnell, the GOP challenger seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, scored a primetime speaking slot on the first night of the Republican National Convention.

    Parnell, 39, a former platoon leader in Afghanistan who recently moved from Cranberry to Ohio Township, said he’s grateful for the chance to speak to a nationwide audience while making a bid for Congress — something he hadn’t envisioned doing when he retired medically from the Army a decade ago following multiple wounds suffered during an enemy attack.

    “When I left the military, I didn’t really know what I was going to do with my life or even how I was going to make ends meet,” Parnell told the Tribune-Review. “And, then, 10 years after that, I’m on stage addressing the nation at the Republican National Convention. It just speaks to how incredible America is, and it’s truly the land of opportunity.”

    Lamb also landed a national audience during the Democratic National Convention’s primetime program last week, as one of 17 Democrats deemed “rising stars” who delivered a joint keynote address. Unlike Lamb’s pre-recorded video shared with 16 others, “the president’s team allowed me to write my own speech,” Parnell said.

    Whereas the main events of last week’s DNC were entirely virtual because of the covid-19 pandemic, the four-day GOP event will span a mix of scaled-back, in-person events and virtual ones. Parnell said he expects the GOP’s tone to be more positive, whereas last week he observed “a whole heck of a lot of partisan attacks on the president, to me, without a whole lot of specific visions for America.”

    “I went into the DNC with an open mind, truly wanting to hear what some of their ideas were, but just being perfectly frank, I thought it was sort of post-apocalyptic. It felt like a dystopian political speech fest for me,” said Parnell, a Fox News contributor, author of the New York Times best-seller, “Outlaw Platoon,” and co-founder of the American Warrior Initiative. “My sense is that Republicans are going to make the case that America is the greatest country on the face of this planet that affords individuals the greatest amounts of opportunities, stories that are emblematic of the great American story.”

    Parnell is opting to use his speech shortly after 10 p.m. to draw on how his time as a platoon leader of the “most wildly diverse group of people” taught him “the importance of coming together and not letting our differences divide us.”

    “We looked past our many differences as Americans and, when death was on the line, we came together,” Parnell said. “If we can do it in Afghanistan, we can do it here as well.”

    Said Parnell, “I’m running as a Republican, and I am a conservative, but I am less interested in the Republican answer or the Democratic answer. … I think people really do want in Western Pennsylvania an independent, moderate voice of their region.”

    The former federal prosecutor and Marine flipped a historically red region blue by ousting two Trump-backed candidates in back-to-back special and general elections in 2018.

    When asked for examples of views that might clash with some Republicans as of late, Parnell said he remains “very concerned about federal deficit spending.” He’s also a supporter of unions: “Republicans have had a complicated relationship with unions,” Parnell said. “I support their right to organize. I won’t support the right-to-work legislation in this region.”

    Though some political observers say Lamb has a strong shot at winning reelection, others disagree and point to Parnell’s campaign gaining momentum as Pennsylvania ranks as an increasingly competitive swing state.

    The Parnell campaign boasted of out-raising Lamb by $270,000 in the second quarter of the year, with more than 8,000 individual donors speaking “to the fact that our campaign is a grassroots movement,” Parnell said.

    The 17th Congressional District includes Beaver County, part of Cranberry in Butler County and about half of Allegheny County, including most of the Alle-Kiski Valley and other suburbs north, west and south of Pittsburgh.

    Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .

    TribLIVE’s Daily and Weekly email newsletters deliver the news you want and information you need, right to your inbox.

    You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our
    Terms of Service.

    We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

    While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

    We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

    We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won’t tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don’t include URLs to Web sites.

    We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

    We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don’t want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

    We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent
    via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won’t publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.


    Donnez votre point de vue et aboonez-vous!

    Laisser un commentaire

    Votre point de vue compte, donnez votre avis

    [maxbutton id= »1″]


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here