Pa. US House election is tight contest

Pa. US House election is tight contest

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

"It took a little longer than we thought, but we did it", Lamb told supporters early Wednesday.

Looks like the race will not be called tonight. It's not over yet. "I think you know people out here are happy because finally somebody is saying something".

On Monday, Trump tweeted that Saccone-a veteran of Pennsylvania's legislature-"will be much better for steel and business". "It's unusual for a race with this many votes in it to be this close, but it happens".

With 96 percent of the votes counted two hours after polls closed, the race remains too close to call.

The bid by Lamb, a 33-year-old Marine veteran and former federal prosecutor, in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District has become symbolic of the larger national fight as both parties careen toward November for the first midterms of the Trump era.

Tuesday's special election between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb is also expected to serve as a preview of other national races for November's midterm elections.

Comparing Tuesday's results to the elections in New Jersey, Virginia, and Alabama past year will be much more indicative of the electorate's mood heading into the midterms, he said. Even with such a tight race there is no automatic recount because it is a congressional race and not a statewide race. There would have to be a petition filed signed by 3 voters in each precinct within 5 days of certification of the vote in each precinct.

"What's really shitty is that I'm pretty political and well versed on special elections, and I forgot that it was happening at all", said Ali Akbar, a Republican political operative who moves among the Internet's pro-Trump crowd. "In order to win in a tough environment we need good candidates who run strong campaigns". Greene questioned. "Rick Saccone has walked the walk". "If we had even a serviceable candidate in this race, it would have been easy".

The victor Tuesday will serve out the remaining 10 months of Murphy's term, but will have to win a new district to be re-elected in November - because of an anti-gerrymandering decision last month by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that realigned congressional districts.

Democrats must flip 24 GOP-held seats this fall to seize control of the House, and months ago few had counted on this Pittsburgh-area district to be in play.

"These results should terrify Republicans", Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., said.

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And conversations with voters Tuesday left little doubt those factors were part of what propelled Lamb's candidacy.

But the candidates themselves created a race that may not be easily duplicated around the country. Trump won three of the four counties in the district in 2016 as part of his sweep of the working class, blue-collar regions of western Pennsylvania that used to be Democratic strongholds.

Trump won the district in 2016 by nearly 20 percentage points.

Trump, begrudgingly admiring of Lamb's tactics, added his own warning Saturday.

Polling right before election day put Saccone neck and neck with Lamb, a moderate Democrat, in a district that Trump won by 20 points in 2016.

Speaking before Lamb claimed victory, Saccone - who has described himself as "Trump before Trump was Trump" - said the contest was not yet over. Trump said on Twitter.

"I guess I got a real big change, more than I anticipated", he said.

Lamb also proved to be a formidable fundraiser, with supporters giving almost $4 million.

Outside GOP groups - aware of the symbolism of losing such a red seat - poured in more than $10 million to bolster him up.

Saccone ran on Trump's agenda - he told USA TODAY he would be the president's "wingman" in Washington - and the president and top Republicans rewarded him by coming to Pennsylvania for rallies and campaign events. "Vote for Rick Saccone and keep it going!"

For some voters, that was enough.

To many Trump supporters across the country, Saccone's travails, much like the recent spate of prickly Republican experiences in post-2016 special elections, appeared to have come out of nowhere.

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