Democrat Lamb seen with slight edge going into Pennsylvania vote

Lester Mason
March 14, 2018

A U.S. House of Representatives election in Pennsylvania that is seen as a referendum on President Donald Trump's performance was a dead heat on Tuesday, an ominous sign for Republicans eight months ahead of congressional elections. It is somewhat surprising, then, that the Saccone-Lamb showdown seems not to have made much of an impression in MAGA-land. With 98% of the vote in Lamb leads by about 700 votes, but there are nearly 7000 absentee ballots to be counted, about half of them in counties that will not count them until the morning.

The race has drawn national attention as a potential signal for how national midterm elections for Congress will go in November. To fend off a Democratic upset, Republicans spent more than $10 million in the race, and Saccone received an 11th-hour campaign visit by Trump.

Trump won the Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District that they are contesting by nearly 20 points in the 2016 presidential election. The White House has blamed the potential loss on Saccone.

By Tuesday, Saccone was portraying himself as the underdog to Lamb, who had received support from labor unions.

Trump's endorsement and his steel and aluminum tariffs, however, won't necessarily turn into automatic votes for a Republican congressman.

"It took a little longer than we thought, but we did it", he said.

The matchup in southwest Pennsylvania pits the strength of President Donald Trump's grasp on blue-collar America against the energy and frustrations of the political left.

He pairs those tacks with Democratic Party orthodoxy on the new GOP tax law, hammering it as a giveaway to corporations at the certain future expense of Social Security, Medicare and the nation's fiscal security. "It was the only vote they cast in their entire lives, and it was because Trump was on the ballot". Lamb, he said, "can talk to all of them, and that's why he can win".

Callaway voted for Trump in 2016 because, he said, he wanted change.

Mindy Barron, a 31-year-old ICU nurse from Greensburg, called Lamb "not a real hard-line Democrat".

Lamb has mostly avoided mentioning Trump, who remains generally popular in the district even if slightly diminished from his 2016 dominance.

"If you polled these folks here in Westmoreland specifically who supported Trump, and why they supported Trump, their checklist is going to be identical to Rick Saccone's campaign", Jobe said. And Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced new funding for mine reclamation at a town just outside the district, with Saccone in attendance.

Rick Saccone and Donald Trump Jr. spoke at a rally Monday night at a local volunteer fire department in Blaine Hill, Pennsylvania, Roll Call reports.

"He came across as establishment, and I think that was more of the problem", he said, later adding that Saccone "very much sounds like he's already part of Washington". "They have a hatred for our president", Saccone remarked.

County election officials are estimating turnout of above 20 percent and potentially above 30 percent in some counties before polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

"This Rick Saccone Republican here is really out of touch", said Waters, pointing out Saccone is "too far right" for Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District. "I don't think it has a whole lot to do with the president".

"They're energized for hate for our president".

Blose expressed frustration with what he sees as Democrats picking and choosing which laws to enforce. "I don't believe he's a total Democrat", Gdovic said.

Another political independent, 78-year-old Eugene Galiotto, supported Trump in 2016 and planned to vote for Saccone. The new map - which gets rid of much of the current 18th district and renames it as the 14th - is expected to be put in place before the November midterms when all House members have to run for re-election.

The area covered by the 18th District had been trending Republican for decades. Republican candidates for president carried the district by larger and larger margins starting in 2004, peeling traditional Democrats away from their party on issues such as abortion and gun rights. "One's a career politician and the other one is looking to make a career out of politics". "And now we've got this Stormy Daniels nonsense". We're going to fight all the way to the end.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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