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Val Arkoosh ends Pennsylvania Senate campaign amid tough Democratic field

Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.
Emma Lee
Dr. Valerie Arkoosh.

Val Arkoosh, a trained anesthesiologist who chairs the board of Pennsylvania's third-most-populous county, on Friday ended her campaign for U.S. Senate and leaving a tough Democratic Party primary field.

In a video message, Arkoosh stressed the importance of a Democrat winning the Senate seat being vacated by retiring two-term Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and said she would work to help that happen.

Arkoosh, 61, a former chair of anesthesiology at Drexel University College of Medicine now chairs the three-member board of commissioners in Montgomery County. Arkoosh ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2014 and was prominent before that in campaigning publicly for passage of then-President Barack Obama's health care law, the Affordable Care Act.

Also in the Democratic primary race are Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta of Philadelphia and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb of suburban Pittsburgh.

Arkoosh trailed the pack in last weekend's endorsement vote at the Democratic State Committee and trailed Fetterman and Lamb in fundraising.

Still, Arkoosh had the backing of the well-funded EMILY’S List, which promotes female candidates who support abortion rights, and 314 Action, which supports scientists in public office.

The primary is May 17. The deadline to file signatures to get on the ballot is March 8.

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