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GOP defends House seat in Pennsylvania

by Evan Wilt
Posted 3/13/18, 10:35 am

A special election Tuesday in western Pennsylvania will test whether Republicans can retain a previously safe congressional seat. Voters will choose between Democrat Conor Lamb, a 33-year-old Marine and former prosecutor, and Republican Rick Saccone, a veteran of the Pennsylvania statehouse. The election is for the seat previously held by Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., who abruptly resigned in October amid sexual misconduct allegations. Murphy easily won reelection in 2016, and President Donald Trump won the district by 20 percentage points. But a Monday Monmouth poll showed Lamb ahead of Saccone by 6 points. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Donald Trump Jr. have all visited the district to boost Saccone while he trails in polls. Lamb is running as a moderate Democrat in attempt to connect with working-class voters around Pittsburgh. Republicans hope to fight back against a feared Democratic resurgence in the 2018 midterm elections. The National Republican Congressional Committee spent $3.5 million, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., spent $3.3 million to support Saccone. The Republican National Committee chipped in another $1.1 million. “I hate to put this pressure on you, Rick,” Trump said in a campaign speech Saturday in Pittsburgh. “They’re all watching because I won this district, like, by 22 points. It’s a lot. That’s why I’m here.”

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Evan Wilt

Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.

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