Conor Lamb; Rick Saccone (Credit: conorlamb.com/ricksaccone.com)
No Democrat has come close to winning Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district in decades. And no Democrat has yet won a special election in the Trump era. On Tuesday night, Democrat Conor Lamb came extremely close, standing on the verge of a startling victory over Republican candidate Rick Saccone in a district that Donald Trump carried in 2016 by almost 20 percentage points.
With 99 percent of the vote counted, including every vote cast on Election Day, Lamb leads Saccone by 0.2 percent, 113,111 votes to 112,532 votes. That’s an extremely narrow margin — but to win, Saccone would have to get about 70 percent of the roughly 1,400 absentee votes still outstanding. By midday Wednesday, Lamb is likely to be declared the tentative winner, with a possible recount ahead.
Like a regular-season matchup that previews a likely playoff contest, the race between Lamb and Saccone was widely watched for its midterm implications — and it should be little surprise if several vulnerable Republicans soon announce their retirements after this shock election.
The temperature never broke 35 degrees in most parts of the southwest Pennsylvania district on Election Day. That may have played a part in depressing …read more