Monday, 25 June, 2018

Pennsylvania election to be a test of pre-midterm Democratic appeal

Pennsylvania election to be a test of pre-midterm Democratic appeal Pennsylvania election to be a test of pre-midterm Democratic appeal
Ellis Copeland | 13 March, 2018, 11:29

ATOP a hill sits St Bernard, a Catholic church with glorious murals depicting scenes from the book of Revelation. Worshippers at the three adjoining grand churches in this hilly suburb of Pittsburgh are assiduous Christians, mostly middle- and working-class and overwhelmingly white. Local volunteers were manning phone banks, while others regularly came in to pick up their instructions for visiting voters home on the final day before polls open.

All this effort comes as the candidates battle for a district that nearly certainly won't exist after this year.

Republicans are waging a expensive political rescue operation in southwestern Pennsylvania to stave off a shaming special-election defeat.

The Democrat, 33-year old Marine Corps veteran and former assistant US attorney Conor Lamb is taking on 60-year old, four-term state representative Rick Saccone to represent the southwestern Pennsylvania district where President Donald Trump defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by almost 20 points in the 2016 presidential election.

But that is not true, Politico reported.

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Saccone is running against Democrat Conor Lamb in Tuesday's special election for the congressional district vacated by Republican Tim Murphy. But a Monmouth University poll released Monday showed Lamb, an attorney and former Marine, with a 49-47 percent lead over Saccone, a conservative state legislator endorsed by Trump.

Spencer's research shows that Lamb has an advantage in Allegheny County, which accounts for a plurality of voters in the 18th, and among younger voters. PredictIt, a political betting-market, has Mr Lamb as a slight favourite. "They know we are about the agenda that they voted in a year and half ago", Saccone said. And yet the momentum seems to be on Mr Lamb's side. Former Vice President Joe Biden stumped for Lamb four days earlier.

For another, Saccone is poorly positioned to harvest votes from the Steelworkers Union, which applauds the tariffs.

Nervous Republicans are pulling out all the stops.

Thomas also said that Trump's presence in Western Pennsylvania over the weekend made her "much less inclined" to back Saccone. But that doesn't account for outside groups, which rescued Saccone (total bucks dedicated to electing him way outpaced Lamb). This is a small, in many respects, a small special election.

Trump visited twice, including a rally Saturday night where he spoke for 75 minutes and whipped supporters up to back Saccone.

Changing Nature of Suburban and Rural Voters
Changing Nature of Suburban and Rural Voters

"You'd be so bored", Trump said as he brushed off criticism that he should change his ways.

What happened to make this such a hotly contested election?

The trim 33-year-old Democrat benefits from the personal contrast with his stocky 60-year-old Republican rival. As a Catholic, Lamb has said he opposes abortion personally throughout the campaign, though he is not suggesting he would vote for anti-abortion legislation.

The longer-term prize is the House of Representatives.

Shari Payne, 44, who works at a university and is supporting Lamb, also views the election as a test of Trump's presidency and his influence over southwest Pennsylvania, though she said she was most excited by Lamb's youth. "They're going to take away your Second Amendment rights". His idea of using social media is to post an amateurish video of himself next to Father Christmas at a veterans' party and encourage Santa to cry "ho, ho, ho".

Outside Republican groups, led by the National Republican Congressional Committee and Congressional Leadership, Fund have spent at least $8.1 million to keep Saccone afloat, according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in campaigns.

Trump claimed many steel mills are now opening up because of his decision.

National Republicans have done everything possible to save the district. Numerous ads are negative and lack substance.

Moulton and Lamb are united by military service and an antiestablishment streak that has caused both men to speak out against House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. And, Lamb signs are anchored in a few yards that heralded Trump in 2016.

A victory for either candidate will probably be short lived.

The special election contest in southwest Pennsylvania will come to an end on Tuesday night and, though the victor remains in doubt, the post-election spin pretty much writes itself. Neither candidate lives in the new district that will be formed according to the court's plan.

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