Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Democrats Hate America, Trump, and God, Rick Saccone Says

Vice President Joe Biden headlined a rally at the Carpenters Training Center in support of Conor Lamb on March 6 Vice President Joe Biden headlined a rally at the Carpenters Training Center in support of Conor Lamb on March 6
Ebony Burgess | 14 March, 2018, 00:50

The neck-and-neck race between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone to replace a GOP congressman who resigned amid a sex scandal isn't a ideal test case for November, for a few reasons.

On the ground, it's been a coalition of anti-Trump groups, many that sprouted after Trump's election and led by women, that have been the volunteer backbone of the Lamb campaign.

At a rally for Saccone on Saturday night in the heart of the district, which stretches from the suburbs of Pittsburgh to the border with West Virginia, Trump laid out the stakes in Tuesday's vote.

Cillizza: Where did Lamb come from?

Similar to many in the Democratic party, Lamb acknowledges that the Affordable Care Act is flawed, but supports it based on its success in providing coverage to millions of uninsured Pennsylvanians. His grandfather was a state senator who served as majority leader when the Democrats controlled that body in the 1970s.

In short, Lamb has politics in his blood. Special counsel Robert Mueller is still investigating 2016 election interference, as is the Senate Intelligence Committee. They are Republican state Representative Richard Saccone, Democratic former assistant US attorney and Marine Corps veteran Conor Lamb, and Libertarian Drew Miller.

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. Saccone is a former counter-intelligence officer in the Air Force, has a doctorate and was a professor at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, teaching political science and other courses, and still teaches there part-time. Were there other possible candidates who could have been a better fit?

The New York Times is commending Democratic Pennsylvania congressional candidate Conor Lamb for his performance in a deep-red district, saying it shows that Democrats should challenge Republicans in every race this fall. Guy Reschenthaler, 74 for Saccone, and 66 for state Sen.

Roger Valente, the chairman of the Quaker Valley GOP, a group within Allegheny County, said voters might not be aware of Saccone's background, particularly in academia, because he comes off as a blue collar worker.

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Ironically, Reschenthaler would have looked a lot more like Lamb.

"The force of this election is not who gets into Congress", Stier said. His loss to Saccone has created some bitterness in the GOP.

Trump putting himself out there, throwing his weight behind another Republican candidate in Saccone is still a big deal, especially for the president himself. Privately, some Republican insiders say if the party had picked Reschenthaler, Lamb would have had no shot at winning. Do you see evidence it's working?

In the same poll last month, Saccone held a small lead above his Democratic opponent - 49 percent to 46 percent, making Lamb's recent support jump a fairly good indicator for Democrats heading into Tuesday. Of course, if he loses, the Pelosi connection will be validated in the eyes of some.

Taxes: He called the GOP tax bill a "giveaway" to wealthy Americans and said he supports cuts for the middle class. On Tuesday he voted for Lamb. It's too early to make that call now, but if Lamb wins, it will bolster Democrats in districts that seem out of reach both due to their political makeup and fundraising.

Lamb told reporters Tuesday he doesn't think the election is a referendum on President Donald Trump. But if Saccone wins, I suspect we will hear something different.

The fight between Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb has drawn national attention as a bellwether for the midterm election in November.

If Pelosi felt threatened by Lamb's call for new leadership, it would stand to reason that she might not be willing to throw the full support of her powerful political machine behind him - even in a race widely considered to be a bellwether for the midterms.

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