Rick Saccone, the Republican candidate in the special election Tuesday (March 13) for Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, sees Democratic voters as being energized by a hatred for President Donald Trump, a "hatred for our country" and even a "hatred for God". Additionally, neither candidate will live in the 18th district after the state Supreme Court redrew Pennsylvania's congressional maps.
Lamb is seeking in Tuesday's vote to pull off a major upset in a district that Trump won by 20 percentage points in the presidential election. They have spent almost $8 million on advertising in the race, more than seven times the amount invested by national Democratic allies unaffiliated with the Lamb campaign.
They said he was going door-to-door, trying to meet as many voters as possible.
"Sarris Candies has over 400 employees, they told me they added 80 more after the tax reform bill passed", he said, "That's not counting the ripple effect it has in the surrounding community".
"He's pro-gun, he's pro-tariff, he's pro-Trump, essentially", Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel said in a Monday radio interview.
Even Trump's star power, which drew crowds in rural Pennsylvania, didn't rouse his die-hard supporters across the country, as the Alabama Senate race or the Georgia special election did. This operative believes many PA-18 voters were unaware, for example, of Saccone's foreign policy background and the fact that he has authored nine books.
Lamb, a 33-year old Marine veteran and former federal prosecutor, downplayed his opposition to the Republican president on Tuesday and insisted instead that the race hinged on local issues.
Democrats must flip 24 GOP-held seats this fall to seize control of the House, and few counted on this Pittsburgh-area district to be in play. Trump held a campaign rally outside of Pittsburgh over the weekend to try and pump up enthusiasm for Saccone.
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The excited supporters included Lamb's middle school football and basketball coach, Joe DelSardo, who recalled Lamb as "a leader from the beginning".
"This is a very tough environment for Republicans", said Corry Bliss of the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. The seat has been in Republican hands for the past 15 years.
"Regardless of who wins the special House election in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, the Democratic candidate, Conor Lamb, has already accomplished something impressive by showing that his party ought to contest every election - no matter how daunting the odds", the Times's editorial board wrote.
Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District opened up in October when eight-term incumbent Republican Tim Murphy resigned under pressure.
"Mr. Lamb has done what many Democrats have been unwilling or unable to do: speak directly and plainly to voters about their concerns". "I'll work with anyone from either party who wants to help people with pre-existing conditions, improve the quality of care, and reduce premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and prescription drug prices", he says on his campaign website.
Trump Jr., who delivered a bracing speech for his father on the second night of the Republican National Convention in the summer of 2016, raised his profile and ability to serve as an effective surrogate for his father on the campaign trail.
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. "He needs a good wingman".
The White House did much more for Saccone, sending in Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and White House advisers Kellyanne Conway and Ivanka Trump. You don't see me in the New-York-City-rubber-chicken-dinner-nonsense circuit.