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Parnell Closes Funding Gap, Outraises Lamb In PA-17

Screengrab of Fox News via Youtube

Republican Sean Parnell outraised his Democratic opponent Conor Lamb by more than a quarter-million dollars, a large step toward closing the financial gap between candidates by nearly tripling his cash on hand.

Between April 1 and June 30, Parnell raised $717,133.84, and ended the quarter with $869,722.60 in cash on hand. Lamb raised $441,393.06 and has $1,333,773.85 in cash on hand.

“Sean Parnell has the right message for the right time in America, and we look forward to continuing to charge forward to defend freedom,” said Parnell campaign manager Andrew Brey in a statement.

Parnell's campaign attributes its successes to his leadership amid the coronavirus pandemic, and said that fundraising was most sharply affected by the pandemic at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter. But Brey said as counties and states began reopening, "fundraising picked up."

"Sean is a hell of a candidate who inspires people during a time of unprecedented crisis and unrest across the country," Brey wrote in an email to WESA. "People are craving leadership right now and are sick of politicians politicising the crisis ... Sean is not your typical political candidate and people are drawn to leadership right now, not politics as usual. People are excited about Sean, and that is ultimately what led to more than 8,000 individual donors, of which more than 7,900 were first-time donors."

In a statement of its own, Lamb's campaign noted that its previous wins -- against former state Rep. Rick Saccone and former Congressman Keith Rothfus -- had also come in the face of national support for Republican rivals.

"This is a battleground district in a battleground state," said Lamb campaign manager Abby Nassif Murphy in a statement. "We knew it would be a competitive, expensive race with a lot of outside money coming in to help President Trump's candidate, just as it has in our past two elections. We have more than $1.3 million and a huge, diverse, highly motivated coalition of local people ready to do the hard work on the ground to win this election in November."

Parnell is an independent consultant for a mortgage company, as well as a Fox News contributor, author and decorated veteran. He entered the race last fall after President Trump announced his campaign on a visit to Pittsburgh. Trump has repeatedly praised Parnell since.

The moderate 17th Congressional district includes moderately blue Allegheny County suburbs and conservative Beaver County. Lamb beat Rothfus in the district by about 40,000 votes in 2018.

Elsewhere in western Pennsylvania, Republican incumbent Mike Kelly added $174,981.12 to his warchest of $1,094,009.48. His Democratic challenger Kristy Gnibus, a public school teacher in Erie, raised $88,914.02. Kelly’s district stretches from Butler County to Erie, which he has represented for nearly a decade.

In deep red southwestern Pennsylvania’s 14th district, incumbent Republican Guy Reschenthaler raised $334,673.86 and has $389,808.31 on hand. His Democratic challenger, high school civics teacher Bill Marx, raised $26,633.23 and has just $20,226.28 on hand.

Democrat Mike Doyle, who represents Pittsburgh in the solid blue 18th district, ended the quarter with $250,884.89 in cash on hand.