Democrat, a Marine veteran, wins House special election in Pennsylvania


Democrat, a Marine veteran, wins House special election in Pennsylvania

Patrick Martin

15 March 2018

Democratic candidate Conor Lamb won a narrow victory over Republican Rick Saccone in Tuesday’s special House election in the 18th congressional district of Pennsylvania. The district occupies the southwest corner of the state, a former steel and coal-producing region that includes the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh. It backed Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton by a 20-point margin in 2016.

With all precincts and absentee ballots counted in the four counties that make up the district, Lamb had a lead of 627 votes, 113,813 to 113,186. Lamb claimed victory, and both the television networks and local newspapers called the result in his favor. However, Saccone and the Republican Party have not yet conceded, discussing their options for a recount or challenge to the result.

Assuming the result stands, the special election would be the first in which a House seat changed parties since Trump took office. In the four special elections in 2017 caused by Trump’s appointment of Republican congressmen to cabinet posts, there were major swings to the Democratic Party, but Republicans still held the seats, albeit by diminished margins.

The vacancy in the 18th congressional district was caused by the resignation of longtime Representative Tim Murphy, a Republican who did not even face a Democratic challenger in 2014 or 2016. Murphy, a right-wing opponent of abortion rights, resigned after it was revealed that, in the course of an extramarital affair, he had pressured his mistress to get an abortion.

Tuesday’s vote has national implications, since there are 114 congressional districts held by Republicans that voted for Trump in 2016 by a smaller margin than the southwest…

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