Tight congressional race coming to end for Lamb, Saccone

Republican Rick Saccone right basked in the glow of a crowd during a campaign rally with President Donald Trump on Saturday

He said, however, that proof the legislation was a good idea can be found in stock market gains since Trump signed it. "I don't think it has anything to do with the president". Even so, the race has garnered substantial attention, with national media and political parties closely watching the "Trump Country" election as a referendum on the president. Party officials are placing the blame squarely on Saccone's campaign but also on Trump's Saturday rally, which some Republicans believe helped drive up Democratic turnout.

AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka is weighing in on behalf of Democrat Conor Lamb. The 33-year-old Lamb, from Mt. Lebanon, is running as a conservative Democrat - his first campaign ad featured him shooting an AR-15 assault rifle - and has gained support from historically powerful labor unions.

"This didn't have much to do with President Trump", Lamb said after casting his vote in suburban Pittsburgh.

The state Republican chairman even claimed Monday that PA-18, represented by Republican Tim Murphy since 2002, is "a Democrat district".

He was referring, of course, to the white-knuckle congressional race on Tuesday in deep-red western Pennsylvania between Republican Rick Saccone and his Democratic challenger, Conor Lamb-a race that Saccone, despite receiving a late boost from Donald Trump himself, has appeared in danger of losing. Saccone, meanwhile, says rank-and-file laborers care more about tax cuts and low regulations than endorsements: "I'll take them any day over the union leadership backing my opponent".

After voting Tuesday in Allegheny County, Republican Saccone downplayed the significance of the unusually close race. Murphy resigned in October.

Democratic voter Brian Konick supported Trump in 2016. And so now more than ever, these candidates matter, these campaigns matter.

"I feel, as a Conor Lamb supporter, we need to get in there and change the vote and just make sure that we take over the House".

If GOP candidate Rick Saccone wins, Republicans will argue that their chances of keeping the House remain solid. "If they'd nominated a liberal who allowed the campaign to become nationalized, it would be over by now", said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin and Marshall College Poll in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

In tweet Tuesday, the president said the economy is raging at an all time high. Jobs and wages up. "Vote for Rick Saccone and keep it going". She added that she has been contacted several times, and received an automated call from Vice President Mike Pence before attending the Trump rally.

"Look, there are more registered Democrats in the district than Republicans", she said.

Between the unusual nature of the special election and the breathless coverage about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's recent decision on redistricting, he said he was surprised he wasn't getting more calls.

Republicans have spent more than $10 million to prevent a defeat in the district, which Trump won in 2016 by 20 percentage points. If Saccone loses, GOP forces will insist it's his fault. That's a key group in this industrial region.

Lamb answered the criticism by saying he wouldn't support Pelosi as floor leader, much less as speaker if the Democrats should retake control of the House. Democrats are trying to use Trump's poll numbers to show that tides have turned with a Saccone loss, and Republicans are attempting to demonstrate that things are just fine in the Trump administration.

"This is not going to be decided tonight", Adam Bonin, a Pennsylvania-based lawyer who specializes in political law told USA TODAY.

President Trump carried the area by 20 points in 2016.

But the Republican nominee finds himself risking an upset that would rattle GOP confidence as it tries to defend its House majority. The White House has blamed the potential loss on Saccone.

The victor replaces Republican Tim Murphy, who resigned in October amid a sex scandal.



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