Monday, 24 September, 2018

Democrat holds slim lead on eve of PA-18 election, poll finds

Moon Township Pa. Saccone is running against Democrat Conor Lamb in a special election being held on March 13 for the Trump Rallies In Pennsylvania
Kenny Thornton | 13 March, 2018, 10:17

Republicans are in the final hours of their frantic, all-out bid to save a Pennsylvania congressional district in the heart of Trump country from falling into Democratic hands in Tuesday's special election. It was once home to steel and coal industries, and covers wealthier southern and eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh, extending to the West Virginia border.

Trump Jr. said the administration needs support from Republicans like Saccone to keep at bay the Democrats, whom he called obstructionists and the "party of dependence".

Democrats must flip 24 GOP-held seats to claim a House majority, and an upset would embolden them as they look to win in places where the party has lost ground.

"It'll mean the Democrats will likely pick up in fundraising and recruitment, and give them momentum going into the mid-term elections".

Both parties and other outside groups have joined in as well, with millions coming from both the Democrats and the Republicans. Analysts said if White House chaos continues and Democratic field action surges, Democrats have a chance of flipping both chambers in November.

President Donald Trump won the district by a 19-point margin in 2016, while GOP nominee Mitt Romney carried it by a 17-point spread four years earlier.

Of course, Trump's performance was similar to something he's done at previous rallies during campaigns, such as when he endorsed Luther Strange in last year's Alabama Senate primary but then hedged ("I might have made a mistake") when it appeared Strange would lose to Roy Moore.

"He supports small business owners and would do anything for you to make sure that your business is successful", said Stephanie Squibb, 48, of Elizabeth, who owns a local printing company. "We're going to be up late Tuesday night".

A president's endorsement can be a valuable asset for a congressional candidate.

The president says Saccone's Democratic opponent - Marine Corps veteran Conor Lamb - "will always vote for Pelosi and Dems".

"Lo and behold, they're fighting for their lives here", Doyle told AFP, referring to Republicans.

Mr Doyle said: "I think what is happening is, there is some buyer's remorse going on".

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But after a contentious - even toxic - first year, the Trump political brand is being tested. He avoids criticizing President Donald Trump and says Democrats' congressional leaders should be replaced.

Republicans pumped millions of outside dollars into the race, overwhelming Democrats by seven to one, Dr Yenerall said.

"Lamb has outraised Saccone, but it's the outside money where the Republicans have the advantage", former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said.

His army of volunteers has fanned out knocking on doors, pressing into areas once considered so conservative that a Democrat could have little hope of breaking through.

Lamb has a positive image in the district, with 48% saying they have a favorable opinion and a 33% unfavorable rating - 15% of voters had heard of him but had no opinion.

The new face of a blue-collar family with political roots, Mr Lamb is socially conservative and economically moderate, and backs Mr Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. "Let me tell you, they're energized for hate for our president".

TRUMP: That's much easier than doing what I have to do because - but this is much more effective.

A poll conducted by Monmouth University show the race as incredibly close. A series of 39 red-to-blue flips in state legislative races got less national attention, though they continued to show an enthusiastic Democratic base.

Colleen Wooten, a Steelworkers staff representative, said Lamb has connected with the region's working class. "If not, we get to do this all over again in 8 months!"

Asked about Republican criticism of Saccone's campaign, Trump told reporters, "God knows, if it's going to make it hard for Trump, the media's going to be all over it".

"And if we can win big in our state, we can start a snowball effect".

Democrats nonetheless take heart that those candidates performed better in their districts than Hillary Clinton did against Trump in 2016.

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