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Democrat poised to upset GOP in Pennsylvania special election

Democrat Conor Lamb is poised to deliver a stunning upset to the Republican Party in a Pennsylvania district Donald T...

Posted: Mar 15, 2018 10:13 PM

Democrat Conor Lamb is poised to deliver a stunning upset to the Republican Party in a Pennsylvania district Donald Trump handily won in 2016.

After a long night of drama, Lamb holds a 627-vote lead over Republican Rick Saccone. With 100% of precincts reporting, Lamb received 113,813 votes, or 49.8% of the vote, to Saccone's 113,186 (49.6%).

There are some remaining votes to be counted, however, including provisional and any military or overseas ballots, which may currently still be in the mail but must be received by the counties by March 20.

Republicans have not ruled out the possibility of a recount, which isn't mandatory for the district but could be requested by precinct with petitions from voters in the next few days.

Lamb claimed victory in a speech to his supporters Tuesday night.

"It took a little longer than we thought, but we did it," he said. "You did it."

Recount possible

Bob Branstetter, a top adviser to Saccone's campaign, told CNN Wednesday morning that the campaign has not discussed a potential recount. But, he said, they are waiting for all votes to be counted before reaching a decision on conceding.

Matt Gorman, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the party is not ruling out the possibility of a recount, and a source familiar with the process told CNN Wednesday morning that the GOP is likely to seek legal action over several areas in this race.

The party is going to request that all ballots and voting machines are impounded so nothing is tampered with to allow for a likely recount, the source said. They allege reports of "miscalibrations" of several voting machines in Allegheny County, including frozen touchscreens where voters intending to cast their ballot for Saccone were only presented with Lamb. The party also accuses the Allegheny County election board of not letting Republican officials into the room where absentee ballots were being counted.

The party also said that the Pennsylvania's secretary of state website confused voters by noting new district lines set to take effect in November following the state Supreme Court's order to redraw districts, the source added. Branstetter also said that the campaign received some calls from voters who were confused about whether they could still vote in the 18th District after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision.

Allegheny County spokeswoman Amie Downs disputed the party's claims, saying the machines don't show photos and that they received no calls related to "miscalibrations" during voting hours Tuesday. She also noted that the county's confirmation screen on voting machines allows voters to change their vote or give them time to call a poll worker to report an issue. She acknowledged that a person lacking authorization to be in the room where absentee ballots were being counted was blocked from entering, but was later allowed back in when the person was approved to be there.

And Wanda Murren, a spokesperson for Pennsylvania's secretary of state, said polling places will not change under the new map provided by the state Supreme Court.

Ominous sign for Republicans

It's a bad sign for Republicans that the 18th District race is razor-tight. Trump won there by 20 percentage points in 2016, and GOP groups pumped $10.7 million into a months-long effort to stave off an embarrassing loss there. Lamb's performance is ominous for the GOP as it heads into November's midterm elections.

Even a narrow Lamb win would signal that the GOP is in danger even in districts considered safe for Republicans, raising Democratic hopes of capturing the House and maybe the Senate in November. A Republican loss could lead to more House members retiring rather than running into headwinds in re-election bids. Democrats, meanwhile, would look to replicate Lamb's success in working-class districts with similar demographics.

With no declared winner, both parties took a stab at spinning the available results. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee claimed victory for Lamb in a statement Tuesday night, while the National Republican Congressional Committee said it was "confident" Saccone would win.

Earlier in the evening, before it became clear the results would be so close, several Republican officials told CNN they were expecting Saccone to lose. Party officials were placing the blame squarely on Saccone's campaign but also on Trump's Saturday rally for the candidate, which some Republicans believe helped drive up Democratic turnout.

When the race tightened, that outlook improved, with one GOP source telling CNN's Jim Acosta: "This isn't a blowout -- for now, we'll happily take it."

A Republican official told CNN that Trump, who was raising money with GOP donors in Beverly Hills, California, had been asking for updates throughout the evening and was pleasantly surprised by the narrow margin.

Lamb and Saccone were running to replace former GOP Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned after allegedly urging a woman with whom he was having an affair to have an abortion.

The stakes are largely psychological: Pennsylvania's Supreme Court recently ruled that its congressional districts were gerrymandered and redrew the map -- meaning both candidates would face choices about where to run if they want to be on the ballot in November.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751526

Reported Deaths: 13799
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033281788
Lake557151010
Allen41710692
St. Joseph36998565
Hamilton36604417
Elkhart29413461
Tippecanoe22914227
Vanderburgh22559400
Porter19359326
Johnson18477389
Hendricks17689317
Clark13228195
Madison13158344
Vigo12625253
LaPorte12420221
Monroe12211176
Delaware10968198
Howard10337225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8577147
Bartholomew8172157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7812180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6972103
Morgan6765141
Dubois6221118
Marshall6211116
Cass6017110
Henry5902110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509176
Shelby501796
Lawrence4745122
Gibson445094
Clinton442755
Harrison441775
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438490
Whitley406643
Huntington403181
Steuben400259
Miami395269
Jasper388654
Knox376391
Putnam373260
Wabash362383
Ripley347270
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332253
Daviess3033100
Wells295381
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273172
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246136
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234631
Starke228058
Fountain221048
Sullivan214643
Owen212158
Fulton203042
Jay200932
Carroll193720
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166446
Parke149616
Pike138134
Blackford136232
Pulaski120747
Newton114336
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101914
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109025

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287651467
Cuyahoga1158292211
Hamilton814131250
Montgomery525601043
Summit484401001
Lucas43364820
Butler39021606
Stark33339929
Lorain25679505
Warren24600303
Mahoning22378603
Lake21213388
Clermont20125253
Delaware18860136
Licking16664222
Fairfield16577204
Trumbull16555482
Medina15613271
Greene15284248
Clark14237306
Wood13293200
Portage13251215
Allen11914239
Richland11608211
Miami10850225
Wayne9147223
Columbiana9036230
Muskingum8907135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8651250
Marion8646138
Erie8057165
Ashtabula7162179
Hancock6999132
Ross6946161
Geauga6841151
Scioto6536106
Belmont6159174
Union584649
Lawrence5734102
Jefferson5680158
Huron5547122
Sandusky5443126
Darke5420129
Seneca5349128
Washington5320109
Athens524360
Auglaize502287
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4572112
Madison444466
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432174
Crawford4040110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3856105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359865
Williams348278
Champaign344859
Guernsey325153
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285550
Hardin275465
Henry273467
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148540
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
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