Democrat Val Arkoosh drops Pennsylvania Senate bid
Pennsylvania Democrat Val Arkoosh on Friday dropped out of the state’s marquee Senate race, marking the first major withdrawal from the party’s crowded primary.
Arkoosh, a physician and chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, said she is dropping out in an effort to ensure a Democrat wins the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R). Arkoosh had been buoyed by an appealing biography but lagged in polling and fundraising behind other contenders like Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Rep. Conor Lamb.
“Since launching this campaign, we have logged a lot of miles, meeting with workers, families and small business owners, childcare providers, families impacted by fracking and this climate crisis, and women who made clear the need to protect abortion access. For them, we cannot let anything stand in the way of a Democrat being elected to the United States Senate,” she said in a video posted on Twitter.
“The stakes are just too high. And it’s become clear to me that the best way I can ensure that happens is to suspend my campaign today and commit to doing whatever I can to help ensure we flip this seat in November.”
Arkoosh is based in the southeastern part of the state near Philadelphia, and her departure leaves state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta as the only major Democratic candidate left from that region. Fetterman and Lamb are both based in the western part of Pennsylvania, where Democrats are looking to retake ground.
Fetterman has boasted a substantial polling and fundraising advantage. However, Lamb over the weekend won the support of 61 percent of state committee members at a meeting. That fell short of the two-thirds threshold needed to get the state party’s endorsement but put him far ahead of Fetterman, who took second place with 23 percent.
Both are considered to be in stronger positions than Kenyatta to win the nomination in the May 17 primary.
Former lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos, former hedge fund manager Dave McCormick and celebrity cardiothoracic surgeon Mehmet Oz are the leading candidates on the Republican side.
Arkoosh did not indicate if she’ll back any remaining candidate in the Democratic primary but indicated she will not stray far from the state’s political scene.
“My name may not be on the ballot, but make no mistake, I will still be fighting every day to help win this election. There’s too much at stake,” she said. “I said from the beginning we would build a campaign about Pennsylvanians and for Pennsylvanians, and I will keep fighting for you each and every day.”
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