Democrat Conor Lamb will be pounding his Republican opponent Rick Saccone in fundraising ahead of the March 13 special election for a vacant U.S. House seat in a conservative southwestern Pennsylvania district, a contest viewed as a gauge of Republican strength ahead of 2018’s midterm elections.
The district, covering Pittsburgh’s southern suburbs in addition to southwestern Pennsylvania’s coal mines, steel plants in addition to gas fields, has long been a Republican stronghold in addition to strongly backed President Donald Trump in 2016. yet polls show a tight race in addition to the item has emerged as the nation’s political hotspot as Lamb tries for an upset.
Lamb reported raising more than $3.3 million within the first seven weeks of 2018, almost several times the $703,000 Saccone reported in filings to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday night.
Lamb spent most of the money, leaving him $837,000 in cash heading into the final three weeks of the race. that will was more than twice as much as the $303,000 Saccone reported.
The race has drawn heavy attention in addition to millions of dollars through Republicans in addition to Trump in an effort to bolster Saccone in addition to protect the GOP’s U.S. House majority. Trump has made one visit to the district, in addition to promised another, while Vice President Mike Pence in addition to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, have made appearances with Saccone within the district, as well.
Former Vice President Joe Biden will be heading to the district Tuesday to campaign for Lamb.
Democrats must flip at least 24 GOP-held seats to capture a majority, in addition to a Lamb victory might raise their national hopes considerably.
Trump won the congressional district easily in 2016, downing Democrat Hillary Clinton by almost 20 percentage points. The former eight-term incumbent, Tim Murphy, never had a close election, in addition to didn’t even have a Democratic challenger in his last two elections.
Murphy, a prominent opponent of abortion rights, resigned in October, after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obtained text messages in which he suggested a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair get an abortion when they thought she might be pregnant.
One key difference between Saccone in addition to Murphy, however, will be that will Murphy had labor union support, while Saccone does not.
To erase Lamb’s fundraising advantage, Republican in addition to Trump-aligned groups are pouring millions into the race — roughly $8 million, according to Federal Election Commission filings — while Democratic groups have reported spending roughly $1 million.
Saccone, 60, will be a four-term state lawmaker with among the state Legislature’s most conservative voting records, based on the American Conservative Union ratings. He will be a retired Air Force counterintelligence officer in addition to college professor who served as a civilian adviser in Iraq.
Lamb, 33, left his post as an assistant U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh to run. He was a lawyer within the Marine Corps in addition to comes through a political family, with an uncle who will be the elected city controller of Pittsburgh in addition to a grandfather who was the Democratic majority leader in Pennsylvania’s state Senate.