Pennsylvania Democrat Claims Win in Tight Vote

Pennsylvania Democrat Claims Win in Tight Vote
Pennsylvania Democrat Claims Win in Tight Vote

Republican Rick Saccone refused to admit defeat in the high-stakes US congressional race on Tuesday after his opponent from the Democratic Party, Conor Lamb claimed victory.

According to the latest results, Lamb was leading by several hundred votes after ballots from all precincts in the 18th Pennsylvania district were counted, and the election officials were now going through absentee ballots to determine the winner of the race in the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh, DW reported.

However, Lamb, a former federal prosecutor and marine veteran, already declared himself the winner.

"It took a little longer than we thought but we did it. You did it," Lamb told a crowd of supporters shortly before midnight local time.

The 33-year-old said the voters told him to "do your job" in Washington.

"Mission accepted," he said.

The special congressional race carries high stakes for both US parties. The Pennsylvania district had been considered a Republican stronghold, and a Democratic victory there would not bode well for the Republican Party ahead of Senate and House midterm elections in November.

"We're still fighting the fight. It's not over yet. We're going to fight all the way to the end. You know I never give up," the 60-year-old Saccone said before Lamb claimed victory.

The strong showing by Lamb seems certain to buoy Democrats nationally as they seek to win control of the US House of Representatives from Republicans in the November elections.

Republican dominance had been so strong in the district, a patchwork of small towns, farms and Pittsburgh suburbs, that Democrats ran no candidates in the previous two US House elections here. Lamb’s image as a moderate seemed to have worked in his favor.

Saccone led the race by more than 10 percentage points in January.

But Lamb, a pro-gun Democrat with strong backing from unions, surged in polls as Democratic voters sensed a chance to show their opposition to Trump.

Saccone, a former Air Force counter-intelligence officer, drew criticism toward the end of the campaign by saying that some of his opponents “have a hatred for God.”

The White House arranged a string of visits to energize Saccone supporters. Trump himself held a campaign rally for Saccone last weekend and on Tuesday he again voiced his backing.

US President Donald Trump won the presidential race in the district by 20 points in 2016. The White House has strongly backed Saccone, who once described himself as Trump's wingman.

Both candidates publically supported Trump's incoming tariffs on steel and aluminum, as Pittsburgh is traditionally considered the home of US steelmakers.

The special election was triggered when Republican congressman Tim Murphy resigned in October.


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