By Chloe Teboe 3/13/2018
A turn of events in a Pennsylvania special election on Tuesday left GOP officials stunned and ready to fight to maintain control of the U.S. House of Representatives come the November midterm elections.
Democrat Conor Lamb surprised the nation when he received 627 more votes than Republican State Sen. Rick Saccone on Wednesday after absentee ballots were counted. More than 224,000 people cast ballots in this race in a district where President Trump won by nearly 20 points in 2016.
Saccone has not yet conceded and may request a recount, but Lamb is expected to win the vote. The Pennsylvania race outcome will officially be called on March 21 after state officials finalize counting the provisional and military ballots.
“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt,” former U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Penn.) told The Washington Post. “You better have your own brand, your own image, and you better be able to sell it. You can’t count on somebody else dragging you across the finish line in this type of environment.”
Republicans had been working for months to secure the House race in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. The party reportedly sent more than $10 million to Saccone’s campaign, which received full backing from the president, but the plan ultimately failed. The future of the House, as well as the Senate, could now potentially reside in Democratic hands.
“What changes for our strategy? Nothing,” said Corry Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC dedicated to protecting the Republican majority in the House, to The Washington Post. “However, everyone has to do better,” he said.
This Democratic win in a heavily Republican district mirrors elections earlier this season in both Virginia and Alabama. CNN reports that Democrats are beginning their investments in candidates early to gain the most support before the midterm elections in November.