Pennsylvania Congressional Contest Considered Preview for November Midterms

Due to new congressional boundaries, the winner will have to start campaigning for re-elecetion in November.
(Photo Courtesy: AP)

MT. LEBANON, Pa. (AP) — Voters across western Pennsylvania weighed in Tuesday on a surprisingly tight congressional contest that pitted the strength of President Donald Trump’s grasp on blue-collar America against the energy and anger of the political left.

The fight between Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb has drawn national attention as a bellwether for the midterm elections in November. Polls closed at 8 p.m. The first results were only trickling in a half hour later.

In a region Trump carried by 20 points, the White House has scrambled to rally voters behind Saccone, who cast himself as the president’s “wingman,” but has struggled at times to connect with the blue-collar coalition that fueled Trump’s victory little more than a year ago.

Democrat Conor Lamb, a 33-year old Marine veteran and former federal prosecutor, downplayed his opposition to the Republican president on Tuesday and insisted instead that the race hinged on local issues.

“This didn’t have much to do with President Trump,” Lamb said after casting his vote in suburban Pittsburgh.

Because of a state court decision redrawing Pennsylvania’s congressional boundaries, the winner will have to start campaigning for re-election almost immediately in a different district. Still, the election has far greater political consequences as each party prepares for the November midterm elections.

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