2018 blue wave watch: Dems flip 2 more seats, aim for key win

Trump's endorsement in Pennsylvania didn't help the GOP candidate. It may have made it worse

By Charlie May

Published February 28, 2018 12:48PM (EST)

 (Getty/Mandel Ngan)
(Getty/Mandel Ngan)

Republicans are growing concerned about potentially losing a seat in a Pennsylvania district President Donald Trump carried by 20 points. A race that was once a sure Republican victory is now another area Democrats can flip, as the so-called blue wave hits a major swing state.

Outshining his political opponent, Democratic candidate Conor Lamb — a former Marine and federal prosecutor — is running on protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Lamb is up against Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone, who has so far run a pretty flat campaign.

The special election will be held on March 13, as a result of former Rep. Tim Murphy's resignation, after it surfaced that Murphy had asked his mistress to get an abortion.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report elaborated:

Saccone, a 60-year-old mustachioed former Air Force counter-intelligence officer, hasn't made any major blunders. But he hasn't raised the resources to tell voters his life story as effectively as Lamb, and after seven years in Harrisburg, he can't credibly run as a political outsider. Moreover, Saccone's votes for right-to-work legislation have angered unions, still an important constituency in this part of the state.

Lamb also secured an endorsement from a key labor union — the AFL-CIO — that supported Murphy several times during his time in office. Lamb has outperformed Saccone by nearly a solid three-to-one margin.

In 2017, Lamb spent $560,000 to Saccone's $214,000, the Cook Report noted.

Even though the Democrats have a small voter registration edge, the idea that the party could secure a seat in a district won so dominantly by Trump certainly speaks to a common sentiment throughout the country. Trump's approval rating is back at an all-time low, and Democrats have already flipped unlikely Trump seats in Florida and Kentucky.

Charlie May

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