Western Pa. in political spotlight with special election

Republican Rick Saccone right basked in the glow of a crowd during a campaign rally with President Donald Trump on Saturday

Republican Rick Saccone right basked in the glow of a crowd during a campaign rally with President Donald Trump on Saturday

"This didn't have much to do with President Trump", Lamb said after casting his vote in suburban Pittsburgh. "We need more people like that in Congress on both sides of the aisle".

"You have to remember, this is a Democrat district, notwithstanding the fact that the president won this by 20 points", Pennsylvania Republican Party chairman Val DiGiorgio said Monday on Fox News. The seat opened last October when Republican Tim Murphy resigned amid a sex scandal. The Democrat Lamb has outraised Saccone by a five-to-one margin.

Democrat Conor Lamb, right, talks with some of his campaign volunteers at a campaign office in Carnegie, Pa., Wednesday, March 7, 2018. Trumka tells union voters Lamb "supported our agenda" so "now it's time to. support him". But he said that if Lamb succeeds, it "provides some additional clues as to what Democrats can do if they run local races [in Republican-leaning districts] ..."

Polls have opened in Tuesday's special election in Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district, where Republican Rick Saccone faces a stronger-than-expected challenge from Democrat Conor Lamb and keep a U.S. House seat in GOP hands.

Republican Saccone has been playing up his seven years as a state lawmaker. And he embraces unions, highlighting Saccone's anti-labor record at the statehouse - a noticeable deviation from Murphy's status as a union-friendly Republican. "What happens here will set the stage for the critical midterm elections coming this November - especially in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin - all states where Democratic senators are seeking re-election".

Republicans on the House Intelligence committee announced Monday they were wrapping up their yearlong investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election after finding no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. But almost as much of the district is suburban and includes some of the swing voters that Republicans will have to convince if they are going to hold on to the U.S. House nationally.

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Saccone, meanwhile, has come under fire from some national Republicans for lackluster campaigning and fundraising.

In addition, Ostermeier said, Pennsylvania Democrats have won a smaller share of House races the past three election cycles than in any three-election stretch since the 1928 through 1932 period.

"We're out meeting people every day and everywhere I get it's 100 to 1 for Rick Saccone", Saccone said. Trump had appeared at a rally for Saccone over the weekend.

Ironically, in that vote, he positioned himself as slightly more liberal, defeating Westmoreland County commissioner Gina Cerilli who describes herself as a pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-union Democrat.

Lamb declined to make any predictions about the outcome, but said his team "worked really hard".

Voters in Western Pennsylvania head to the polls Tuesday to pick a new congressman.

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President Donald Trump tweeted about "steel and business" in a final push to sway voters while Donald Trump Jr., visiting a candy-making business, touted Republican Rick Saccone as someone who will be "helping fight with my father" for jobs to come back from overseas.

Saccone had a full schedule of retail visits Monday, including at an ambulance company.

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He did it as national Republican groups filled airwaves and social media with depictions of the first-time candidate as little more than a lemming for Nancy Pelosi - the California Democrat, House minority leader.

That initial finding is one of more than 40 in a draft report spanning over 150 pages that Republicans said would be shared with Democrats for review and comment on Tuesday. The polls close at 8 p.m. Results will begin to be reported after that.

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