Here’s why everyone in Washington is talking about a special congressional election in Pennsylvania: It’s a very real possibility that a Democrat could win in a district that President Donald Trump won by 20 points in 2016. As of Wednesday morning, Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone are virtually tied, waiting on absentee ballots to decide the winner.
This election is the first chance both sides have to gauge how their party will do in the first midterm elections of Trump’s presidency. If Democrats can win or even come close to winning the mostly white, blue-collar southwestern Pittsburgh-area district, it will be an an indication of their shot in more moderate districts, like the 23 Republican-held seats that also voted for Hillary Clinton, in their pursuit to take control of the House.
But Washington is often guilty of hyperventilating about a special election. The race to replace a GOP congressman who resigned amid a sex scandal isn’t a perfect test case for November, for a few reasons.
With the help of Stuart Rothenberg, a nonpartisan elections analyst, here’s a better sense of how we can interpret Tuesday’s results and what about this race is overhyped.
Attendees cheer as Conor Lamb, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, not pictured, speaks during an election night rally in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Wednesday, March 14, 2018.
Why this special election could foreshadow November’s midterm elections
1. It comes more than a year after Trump’s election: You may remember special elections last summer in Georgia and Montana to fill seats vacated by Trump’s Cabinet. Back then, it was unrealistic to expect Trump voters to break away from a party headed by someone they’d elected less than a year earlier, Rothenberg said. But enough time has passed between the presidential election that if there is any kind of …read more
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