Democrat clings to lead in Pennsylvania House race

Democrat Conor Lamb looks poised to hold on to his narrow victory over Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania.

Democrats have declared victory in the race for Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, but Republican nominee Rick Saccone has not conceded, and Republicans have taken some tentative steps toward seeking a recount.

Republican officials, who are looking for irregularities, have written to each of the counties in the district to demand that they preserve all ballot boxes for a potential recount, as required under state law.

Bob Branstetter, a top adviser to Saccone's campaign, told CNN Wednesday morning that the campaign has not discussed a potential recount. The race, in a district President Donald Trump won by almost 20 points in 2016, has not been officially called because state officials continue to count provisional and military ballots, a process that could last until at least March 21.

Fallout from the special election in the 18th district special election, Lamb and Saccone trending in opposite directions again, labor unions getting credit for pushing Lamb over the line, and Toohil shows courage.

Those busted endorsements suggest that for all his mystical connection with his base, Trump is not necessarily an asset for GOP candidates in special elections.

Of course, when Trump openly backed Saccone in January, the Republican enjoyed a 12-point lead in the race. According to Wanda Murren, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, the state will not certify the election until March 26 at the earliest, after all military, overseas, and provisional ballots are counted. The vast majority of the outstanding ballots were in Allegheny County, officials told Reuters, where Lamb received over 57 percent of the vote. Nancy Pelosi and her whipping boy Steny Hoyer, who make up the higher reaches of Democratic House leadership, have a combined age that is far higher than my best bowling score, or Donald Trump's genius I.Q.

Democrats, including Lamb, have disputed that characterization, arguing the race was a local matter.

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The president said Lamb "sounded like a Republican to me".

Some Republicans are blaming an uninspiring candidate for the loss, but Saccone was no more or less inspiring than many other Republicans who have repeatedly won their districts. Rep. Lamb's performance is ominous for the GOP as it heads into November's midterm elections.

If past is prologue, prohibitionists within the GOP are terminally screwed come November. The facts are that Lamb was at least six points ahead of Saccone before Trump's troops arrived on the scene, but the election was decided by less than two-tenths of a percentage point.

Not every election is about Trump. "He said, 'I'm not running against Trump, but I am running against Nancy Pelosi.' How extraordinary is that, a Democrat running against his own soon-to-be Democratic leadership if he wins". It was his first time commenting on the race, seen as yet another blow to the Republican's control of the House.

In southern New Jersey's 2nd District, where Republican Frank LoBiondo is retiring, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee touts state Sen. If they flip 24 seats, they could reclaim a House majority. Those stands are a warning to Democrats seeking to repeat Lamb's victory: They will have to adopt much more conservative positions than usual to win in November.

It has been long assumed that if the Democrats take back the House in the fall election, Pelosi, who served as Speaker from January 2007 to January 2011, and who has served as Minority Leader since January 2011, would automatically be selected by her colleagues as the new Speaker in the 116th Congress that convenes in January 2019.

"He didn't run on an identity politics, one-size fits all message", said Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), co-chairman of the Blue Dog PAC, the fundraising arm for the conservative Democratic coalition.

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