Lamb, Saccone Rally Voters As 18th Congressional District Special Election Nears

Henrietta Brewer
March 10, 2018

There is no sign of Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone on Sherwood Drive. "It's the second time we've been avoided".

Joe Biden, campaigning for Democrat Conor Lamb ahead of the House special election next week, laid out a path for his party to win back the working-class voters who rejected them in 2016.

Trump made trade a focal point of a speech two days before the 2016 presidential election in the same hangar where he will talk Saturday.

Wasserman said Lamb's centrist policy positions could make him appealing to voters in the district. At the same time, he reminded them the race is still not over.

"We've got Donald Trump". He added, "All the traditional things, we're doing".

Democratic congressional candidate Conor Lamb listens as former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a rally on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 in Pittsburgh.

"If the Democrats had run a liberal, urban-based candidate, you and I wouldn't even be having this conversation", Madonna said.

Josh Jaros and his partner Kim Zouko, both 36, invited the fresh-faced Lamb into their living room, where he played with their 3-year-old daughter for a few minutes before asking them who they were voting for.

"This is the first I'm hearing about it", he told The Associated Press in a brief interview. It's about who the hell we are and what we've done.

But, it's also about Lamb's style and charisma, Republicans say.

"The suburbs, the exurbs, the smaller towns - they got hit pretty hard", Biden said Tuesday at Robert Morris University, where he led a get-out-the-vote rally. "Conor Lamb is the type of Democrat who could conceivably win that seat", said David Wasserman, the House editor for the non-partisan Cook Political Report, which handicaps and analyzes House races. He's pro-gun and personally opposed to abortion, although he has said he wouldn't vote to restrict access.

In fact, in a recent TV ad, he explicitly sent that message about his differences with the top Democrat in the House.

Democrats have a moment that pivots on their upcoming primary races this spring and summer: Go moderate, which is where most of America's sentiments lie outside of the activist heat, and have a successful and meaningful majority. Saccone has campaigned as a candidate who would carry out Trump's agenda, and quipped in a debate last month that his only area of disagreement with the president is which football team each supports.

The organization has been active on the ground since early January to help execute an aggressive get-out-the-vote operation of its own.

Lamb has mostly shied away from national Democrats, saying the party needs new leadership and distancing himself from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

At the same time, teams from the Koch brothers-backed Americans For Prosperity arrived in the region this weekend to broaden the conservative outreach. Other national groups allied with the GOP have spent almost $8 million on advertising in the race, which is more than seven times the amount invested by national Democratic allies not affiliated with the Lamb campaign.

The president and his party are eager to avoid another special election loss in what should be a safe Republican district.

The White House is not taking any chances in the latest Trump-era special election, knowing that the result will inevitably reflect upon the president. And the sting of the GOP's embarrassing December defeat in Alabama's special Senate race is still fresh.

Conway's first appearance with Saccone at a Pittsburgh "meet and greet" with campaign volunteers attracted less than 20 people.

"It's fantastic", Saccone said. "So I think it's long overdue", Lamb said then. "I know he's a busy man".

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