The much watched Pennsylvania special election appears to have gone to Democrat Conor Lamb, who scored a bare 641 vote preliminary victory over state Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Canonsburg) last night. It is likely the turnout will exceed 230,000 voters when all votes are counted and the military and overseas ballots are added to the totals. To put the large turnout in perspective, most of the area PA congressional districts recorded vote totals in the 200,000 range for the 2014 midterm election. Once all votes are added to the total, the Lamb victory margin will approximately be 500 votes, much less than polling projected.
Quickly, the focus will now turn to where Rep-Elect Lamb and possibly Mr. Saccone will run in the general election. Mr. Saccone has already been circulating qualifying petitions in the new 14th District, the place where redistricting put 57% of the 18th District’s constituency. This seat is nine points more Republican than the current 18th, so it is probable that Mr. Lamb will challenge Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley) in the new Allegheny County anchored 17th District.
The 17th CD is a swing district much more favorable to a Democratic candidate, but it does mean Lamb will be forced to challenge a four-term incumbent with 56% constituent carry-over from his previous 12th District. Currently, Rep. Rothfus has approximately $1.5 million in the bank. Mr. Saccone has lost the opportunity to re-file for his state House seat since filing for the rest of the state’s offices occurred on March 6th. The congressional district filings were postponed because of the new redistricting map.
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