Posted on 13-03-2018
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Democrat Conor Lamb leads Republican Rick Saccone by 0.3 percentage points or 579 votes in a Pennsylvania congressional District Donald Trump won by 20 points and where the Democrats did not even bother fielding a candidate in the last two elections.  Absentee votes remained to be counted, but most commentators do not believe Saccone has enough votes to make up the difference.  Absent a major tabulation error, Conor Lamb has won.  With Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered districts being redrawn, both candidates will run in other districts in November.

Lamb appears to have been an unusually charismatic candidate, but this was a race that should not even have been close.  Rick Saccone had the standard Republican resume that wins these heavily gerrymandered districts easily.  The Republican Party invested 10 million dollars in this race.  Donald Trump visited the district twice.  The Republicans tried playing the Nancy Pelosi bogeywoman and touting their tax cut scam, but both strategies fell flat.  Trump’s recent tariffs should have resonated with steelworkers in this district but did not.  A desperate Saccone was reduced to pathetically alleging his opponents hated Trump, America and even God.

Even had Saccone won, the 20 point swing should have set alarm bells ringing.  It now appears that the Democrats may have finally won a heavily Republican congressional seat. The difference appears to have been voter enthusiasm, the Democrats had more of it and it made a difference.

Do not look for Donald Trump to engage in any introspection.  Behind closed doors, Trump evidently has already cast the blame on Saccone.  However, there are more than a 100 Republican held congressional seats that Trump won with a smaller margin than PA-18 (including the seat held by Paul Ryan).  Tonight many of those incumbents have cause to be nervous and in November Pennsylvania will not have a Congressional map rigged in favor of Republicans.  The Democrats will obviously not win all of those seats.  However, they need only 24 to win back the house.

Tonight that target seems even more attainable.

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