Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Democrat Takes Lead Over Trump-Backed Candidate in PA Special Election

Congressional candidate for Pennsylvanias 18th district greets supporters after speaking at a campaign rally with United Mine Workers of America at the Greene County Fairgrounds Drew Angerer Getty Images
Jay Anderson | 14 March, 2018, 00:37

Rick Saccone, Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, stands in front of a campaign sign during an event with volunteers and service members at the Blaine Hill Volunteer Fire Department in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, on Monday.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court previous year struck down the boundaries of the state's 18th congressional district - where voters decide Tuesday between Republican Rick Saccone or Democrat Conor Lamb - saying the boundaries were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Republicans. "Vote for Rick Saccone, and we can leave right now", Trump said immediately after greeting the crowd at a rally Saturday night outside Pittsburgh. In the White House's view, this proves Trump isn't the one bringing down Saccone.

Beyond Lamb's stance on the issues, Madonna said, the Democrat has outraised his Republican opponent and offers an attractive biography - he's a pro-military former Marine and prosecutor who has talked about the opioid epidemic in a region in which overdose deaths are twice the national average.

Trump Jr., eating ice cream with Saccone at Sarris Candies in front of dozens of cameras, said Trump supporters "gotta stay in the game, they gotta stay motivated". (It's high.) The only way Lamb will be able to come close to Saccone will be by converting a sizable number of Trump voters. "I'm saying that the president is pushing forward on things that we know have broad-based support and that we can immediately get done, while at the same time we're looking at the best way forward to push these other things through", she said.

Tuesday's special election for Pennsylvania's 18th District ought to be a slam dunk for Republicans. An upset would embolden them as they look to win in places where the party has lost ground in recent decades, and it would spook Republicans about their prospects in this tempestuous era of Trump.

For the president, PA 18 marks his latest attempt at strapping the #MAGA movement to another Republican candidate and hoping that the same political movement that catapulted him to the White House will prove to be more than just a flash in the pan and also have an effect on more than just his own candidacy.

A key difference between Murphy and Saccone: Murphy tended to have labor union support.

WHICH SURROGATE MADE THE BIGGEST IMPACT: Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and former Vice President Joe Biden all campaigned here for the candidates.

"Lamb will always vote for Pelosi and Dems.Will raise taxes, weak on Crime and Border", Trump tweeted Monday.




AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka is weighing in on behalf of Democrat Conor Lamb.

Unions, however, have come out strongly for Lamb - something they didn't do for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Republicans have a 24-seat advantage in the House pending the outcome in Pennsylvania.

Lamb's campaign has inspired Democrats' core supporters.

"I was really down after the presidential election, but Conor has me totally enthusiastic again", said Patricia Bancroft, 62, as she took a break from working the phones at Lamb's Allegheny County field office Monday afternoon. "These people are very happy to have the bonuses that they received".

In normal times, the temptation would be to give Pelosi her last-hurrah campaign to win back the speaker's gavel that she lost in the 2010 Democratic collapse.

Cillizza: Did Republicans make a mistake in picking Saccone, an older longtime state legislator?

"I'm ready", he said. "But he is fair-minded, analytical, reasoned".

In addition, Ostermeier said, Pennsylvania Democrats have won a smaller share of House races the past three election cycles than in any three-election stretch since the 1928 through 1932 period. Registered Democrats still outnumber Republicans by nearly a four-to-three ratio in a district where gun rights are a high priority, and Democrats still hold some local offices.

Trump has put his full force behind Saccone. Touring the candy-maker, he greeted workers and urged them to vote.

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