Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Canonsburg, PA, United States (4E) – Ex-U.S. Marine Conor Lamb pulled-off a stunning political upset, winning the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district — a Republican bailiwick — in a race he was never supposed to win
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report reported that with all absentee ballots counted in the election held March 13, Lamb leads the Pennsylvania special House election by 627 votes over Republican state Representative Rick Saccone, who declared himself “Trump before Trump was Trump.”
The Cook Political Report is an independent, non-partisan online newsletter that analyzes elections and campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, Governor’s offices and the Presidency.
Mid-day Wednesday, CNN reported Lamb was in the lead with 627 votes, with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Pennsylvania state law does not mandate a recount in district-level elections. Later in the day, however, MSNBC announced Lamb had won, as did the American news website, Vox.
With 100% of live votes counted before midnight on March 13, the race came down to absentee ballots in four counties. Returns from Washington County revealed before midnight saw Lamb winning 607-549 over Saccone. With absentee ballots from Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland Counties already counted, Lamb has an unassailable lead with only 300 ballots left to be counted in Greene County.
“It took a little longer than we thought, but we did it. You did it,” Lamb told supporters at his election night party before 1 a.m. Lamb was introduced as “congressman-elect” to Democrat faithful.
“We followed what I learned in the Marines — leave no one behind. We went everywhere, we talked to everyone, we invited everyone in.”
Saccone earlier said he won’t concede. Most media outlets, including CNN, have not yet called the race as of this writing. Republican Rick Santorum, who unsuccessfully ran for the party’s presidential nomination 2016, said he’d rather be in Lamb’s shoes than in Saccone’s after the absentee ballots were revealed.
Lamb’s razor-thin margin of victory is yet another shocking moment in this special election, which was initially seen as a GOP cakewalk. The race, however, trended in the Democrat’s direction in recent weeks. Republicans spent more than $10 million to boost Saccone, and sent Trump to a rally to drum up support for the Republican candidate.
Instead of spending time boosting Saccone, however, Trump delivered an unhinged rant, insulting his “usual suspects” such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton while praising his “achievements” to high heavens. Only towards the end of this neurotic rant did Trump bother to say a few encouraging words about Saccone.
Some Republicans blamed Trump for Saccone’s loss, saying Trump’s horrific monologue cajoled enough Republicans to vote for Lamb. The White House, however, blamed Saccone for the defeat.
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