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This Is Turning Into a Special Trump Test: Dems Challenge in Surprising Tossup in Trump Country


A widely watched special congressional election is underway Tuesday in Pennsylvania, and Democrats believe it could give them a sign about their chances of taking control of Congress in the fall midterm elections.

Democrats think they can win the district even though President Trump carried it by 20 points in 2016. That's one reason why Trump campaigned there over the weekend for the Republican candidate.

"This guy should win easily, and he's going to win easily. You've got to know, he's an extraordinary person. Go out and vote on Tuesday for Rick Saccone," Trump said.

Polls show a tight race between Saccone and Democratic candidate Conor Lamb who has said he doesn't agree with the more liberal wing of his party on many issues.

Even though Lamb is distancing himself from liberal policies and running in Trump's direction, Democrats are hoping that a win in this race would show they have a chance to take over the House of Representatives in this fall's congressional elections.

Democrats must flip 24 GOP-held seats to claim a House majority.

Saccone, 60, is a state lawmaker with four decades in the public and private sector, including an Air Force career.

Lamb, 33, is a Marine veteran and former federal prosecutor from an established political family.

Lamb pitches himself as independent-minded, and his varying views have earned him support in the Pittsburgh region. He supports unions and opposes Trump's tax cuts. But he also opposes sweeping gun restrictions, endorses Trump's new steel tariffs, and avoids attacking the president.

"He's a Marine," Bill Kortz, a former steelworker and a Democratic state lawmaker, said. "He's good with guns. He's good with the Second Amendment."

Meanwhile, Saccone is running as close to Trump as possible.

"Do we love our president here in western Pennsylvania? Yeah, we do," Saccone said as he came to the stage this weekend. "I want to thank President Trump. As I said before if President Trump's in your corner, how can you lose? He's the best man anyone could ask to be in their corner."

Many pro-life voters support Saccone. "He shares my values," 64-year-old retiree Barbara DeFelice said Sunday. "I just don't understand that people say we shouldn't put lobsters into hot, boiling water ... but we can kill babies."
Other voters are drawn to Saccone purely because he's allied with Trump. "Rick's going to support everything he's doing," engineer Carol Heinecke said.

Associated Press material was used in this story.


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