Pennsylvania election in virtual tie as final precincts come in

David Weigel, Elise Viebeck | The Washington Post

MOUNT LEBANON, Pa. – It’s come down to the wire in a hotly contested U.S. House seat special election that President Donald Trump and the rest of Washington are watching closely as a bellwether for the midterm elections.

Republican Rick Saccone sought to hold off a stronger-than-expected challenge from Democrat Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. Lamb took a substantial lead early as the precinct results rolled in. Saccone closed the gap as the more rural areas reported: With 96.3 percent of the precincts reporting, Lamb’s lead was less than 1,000 votes, putting the race in a virtual tie.

The race has received a steady stream of national media attention because of its implications for the president and congressional Republicans as they seek to maintain their majorities in November. To fend off a Democratic upset, Republicans spent more than $10 million in the race, and Saccone received an 11th-hour campaign visit by Trump.

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The president won the district by nearly 20 points in 2016, but Lamb’s strength in the race underscored the political challenges facing the GOP: The party controlling the White House typically loses seats in the midterms, and Trump’s unpopularity does not help.

Republicans are openly fretting that Lamb, a 33-year-old Marine veteran and former federal prosecutor, might win the race for the Southwestern Pennsylvania seat. Internal Republican polling found Saccone – a member of the state House of Representatives – trailing narrowly, though picking up a little ground since the president’s visit to the district on Saturday.

By Tuesday, Saccone was portraying himself as the underdog to Lamb, who had received support from labor unions.

For voters, Trump loomed large in the minds of many.

Amelia Fletcher, a registered independent from Moon Township, cast her first-ever ballot for Saccone because she likes Trump’s agenda and believes he will support it.

“I really don’t appreciate how he talks, but I like what he’s doing now to help us out,” the 18-year-old high school senior said of Trump.

In Mount Lebanon, Dave Banyan, 65, said that he had made up his mind on the race “as soon as President Trump was President Trump.” He said he did not want Democrats to get one vote closer to controlling the House of Representatives.

“I don’t want America …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

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