Jake Tapper Reportedly Encouraged Sean Parnell To Run In ‘Safer’ District Rather Than Challenge Democrat Conor Lamb


Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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CNN anchor Jake Tapper reportedly encouraged Army Ranger veteran Sean Parnell to run in a “safer” district rather than mount a challenge against Democratic Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb.

A source close to the Parnell campaign said that Tapper, a Pennsylvania native, had reached out and encouraged him to primary another Republican instead of running in the 17th Congressional District, according to a Breitbart story that broke several days earlier. (RELATED: ‘United, We Were Unbeatable’: Sean Parnell Reaches Across The Aisle To ‘Disillusioned’ Democrats)

Tapper allegedly told former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell that he had not attempted to dissuade Parnell from running against Lamb.

But on Thursday, Fox News obtained screenshots of a direct message from Tapper seemingly explaining that he had only meant to encourage Parnell to run “in a safer R district” — where he would have run a primary against a sitting Republican — rather than going after Lamb’s seat.

“And best of luck in your race. For the record, I wasn’t trying to talk you out of running — I was trying to talk you into running in a safer R district! Lol,” the message from Tapper read.

According to PoliticsPA.com’s July rankings, Lamb — a Marine veteran who won his seat in a usually-Republican district in 2018’s special election — is considered the fourth most vulnerable congressman on the state. Parnell outraised Lamb in the second quarter, with $717,000 compared to Lamb’s $441,000.

Tapper’s ties to Pennsylvania politics run deep as well — before breaking into the national media scene, he served as campaign press secretary for Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, who represented Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District for one term.