Pennsylvania House Race Seen as a Test for Both Parties

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Democrats hope Conor Lamb-Rick Saccone contest offers clues on how to appeal to Trump voters

A closely watched special election for a vacant U.S. House seat in Pennsylvania comes to a head Tuesday, in a district that Democrats hope offers them a blueprint for how to win in Trump country.

The race in the 18th Congressional District, between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone, is by all accounts tight. Both GOP and Democratic internal polling show the race within a few points, officials have said, making it a tossup election in an exurban Pittsburgh district that voted for President Donald Trump by 20 points in 2016.

The closeness of the race has Democrats hoping they can show they can win in a Trump-friendly district, not just in the 23 districts that voted for Hillary Clinton for president and elected a Republican House member in 2016. Democrats need to win a net 24 seats to take control of the House.

“ Conor Lamb didn’t seek to distance himself from Donald Trump; he chose instead to make himself more like Donald Trump,” said Charlie Gerow, a longtime political strategist in Pennsylvania. “He ran away from Nancy Pelosi. ”

Mr. Lamb, a former federal prosecutor and Marine, has said he doesn’t agree with the more liberal wing of his party on issues like a so-called Medicare-for-all health system. He also has been campaigning with pro-coal groups, like the miners union, and has backed Mr. Trump’s new punitive tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. And, Mr. Lamb said he wouldn’t support Mrs. Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, to lead the party’s caucus if he should win his election.

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