Democrats looking to flip House seat tonight in key race

Marianne Goodland with Colorado Politics and Jesse Paul of the Denver Post

AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka is weighing in on behalf of Democrat Conor Lamb.

"We worked really hard for it", Lamb said at his polling place.

Looks like the race will not be called tonight.

Republican Rick Saccone took a defensive stance, telling his backers: "We're still fighting the fight". It's not over yet. Donald Trump Jr. attended the rally and spoke on behalf of candidate Rick Saccone. "It's unusual for a race with this many votes in it to be this close, but it happens".

After a long night of drama, the race is still too close to call. Several thousand absentee ballots were still being counted as the effort carried into Wednesday, and the final result could well be decided by a recount.

A razor's edge separated Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone Tuesday night in their closely watched special election in Pennsylvania, where a surprisingly strong bid by first-time candidate Lamb was testing Donald Trump's sway in a GOP stronghold.

The outcome could offer signs of what's to come in November's midterm elections.

Apparently there is no automatic recount. There would have to be a petition filed signed by 3 voters in each precinct within 5 days of certification of the vote in each precinct.

Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m.to 8 p.m. "You know I never give up", state legislator Saccone, 60, said before his rival claimed victory. Joe Biden made a trip to the district but Biden's history as a vote-getter in rural districts and his Pennsylvania roots make him a uniquely ideal campaign partner for Lamb. Greene questioned. "Rick Saccone has walked the walk".

The victor Tuesday will serve out the remaining 10 months of Murphy's term, but will have to win a new district to be re-elected in November - because of an anti-gerrymandering decision last month by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that realigned congressional districts.

Both Lamb and Saccone have led the race at some points and the polls have the candidates neck-and-neck.

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. "The Democrats. they're throwing everything they can at this race", he said.

But the candidates themselves created a race that may not be easily duplicated around the country. Lamb pitched himself as an average guy from the mostly white, working class district. Frequently clad in jeans and beat-up work boots at campaign events, he talked about the economy and jobs, focusing his outreach on veterans and union members.

Of the 85 races now viewed as competitive, 55 are in congressional districts that Trump won in 2016, according to the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Voters in Western Pennsylvania are heading to the polls today for a special election in Pennsylvania District 18.

There are some people who believe the 18th race may have been a factor in Trump's push to announce new tariffs on imported steel. Saccone's total was less than $1 million.

For some voters, that was enough.

Yet Saccone struggled to raise money and stir the same passions that helped Trump sweep the industrial Midwest on his way to the White House.

"I just don't want to put any more kinks or put any more barriers in front of the president", she said.

Voter Despina Naylor is pictured March 13, 2018. Aside from his lack of charisma, which even the president has privately noted, the Pennsylvania operative told me that Saccone had been backed by the state's machine politics, propelling him past two candidates preferred by the national party, potentially at the expense of repelling Trump's hardcore base.

Another Lamb supporter in Mt. Lebanon, Elaine Giarrusso, said she was willing to overlook Lamb's centrist view on guns.

The victory Tuesday will be short-lived, however.

Because of a state court decision redrawing Pennsylvania's congressional boundaries, the victor will have to start campaigning for re-election nearly immediately in a different district.

Lamb ran as a protector of Social Security and Medicare who wanted "new leadership" to replace House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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