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PA18

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The Pennsylvania special election for House district 18 is still too close to call:

The two candidates competing in a special House election here on Tuesday were locked in an extraordinarily close race as a rescue operation by President Trump was put to the test by Democrats hoping to claim an upset in the heart of the president’s Rust Belt base.

With 99 percent of votes counted, Conor Lamb, a Democrat, was clinging to an 847-vote lead over Rick Saccone, a Republican, in a Pittsburgh-area district that Mr. Trump overwhelmingly carried in 2016. But a few thousand absentee ballots had not yet been counted, assuring that no winner would be declared until Wednesday at the earliest. And it was possible that a legal battle could ensue.

No matter the final outcome, Mr. Lamb’s strong showing demonstrated that the Trump-inspired energy propelling Democrats across the country is not confined to liberal-leaning regions, an ominous sign for Republicans who may have to defend a far broader section of districts this fall than they had hoped.

This district won’t exist in the November election, since the Pennsylvania supreme court has required the state’s congressional districts to be redrawn before then.

The real significance of this election is that a district that Trump carried by 20 points (ETA: and in which Saccone outspent Lamb by 4-1) became a tossup after just sixteen months of MAGA.  Indeed more than 300 congressional districts have better demographics for the Democrats that PA18, based on 2016 election results.  So this is yet more evidence of an impending wave election.

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