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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

Every vote counts: Democrat Conor Lamb has extremely slim lead in PA-18 with 99% in

A massive vote swing against Donald Trump and the Republicans in western Pennsylvania has put the party in jeopardy of losing a gerrymandered district it has previously had no trouble winning to a resurgent Democratic Party hungry for more special election victories ahead of the 2018 midterms.

With 99% of the vote counted, Democratic congressional hopeful Conor Lamb — a former U.S. Marine Corps officer and Assistant United States District Attorney — had an extremely slim lead over Republican opponent Rick Saccone. Over 200,000 ballots have been cast in the contest thus far, and the two candidates are virtually tied with only a few ballots left to count — most of them absentee ballots.

As of 7:50 PM Pacific Time, results were:

  • Democratic candidate Conor Lamb: 49.87% (107,556 votes)
  • Republican candidate Rick Saccone: 49.52% (106,801 votes)
  • Libertarian candidate Drew Gray Miller: 0.61% (1,309 votes)

On CNN, a top elections official from Washington County called in live not long ago to report fresh numbers, which (once incorporated into the overall numbers) temporarily cut Lamb’s lead to just ninety-five votes overall.

That’s a gap in the double digits!

There are four counties with precincts in Pennsylvania’s 18th District. Three of them are backing Rick Saccone, while the fourth — Allegheny — is backing Conor Lamb. That’s his stronghold, and his support there has been the key to his performance so far. Allegheny is the state’s second largest county overall; its county seat is Pittsburgh. Officials there just finished counting absentee and provisional ballots, and the results gave a significant boost to Conor Lamb.

Not counting the just tallied absentee ballots, Lamb has a healthy 57.10% of the vote in Allegheny County. It’s that strong showing that has allowed him to maintain a lead over Saccone for much of the night. In Washington County, he has 46.30%, in Westmoreland County, he has 42.25%, and in Greene County, he has 41.33%.

The 18th District will look very different in just a few months due to court-ordered changes to Pennsylvania’s congressional district maps. (Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled not long ago that the current map is an unconstitutional gerrymander).

Regardless of who wins, this is already a disastrous result for Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Trump easily won this district in 2016 by a margin of twenty points. A year and a half later, it’s on the verge of being lost to the Democrats.

UPDATE, 8:13 PM: The official count has been adjusted to reflect the absentee ballots from Allegheny County. These are now the current numbers.

  • Democratic candidate Conor Lamb: 49.89% (111,875 votes)
  • Republican candidate Rick Saccone: 49.51% (111,028 votes)
  • Libertarian candidate Drew Gray Miller: 0.6% (1,351 votes)

This is a developing story and we will continue to post updates.

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One Comment

  1. so where are the two missing precincts in Washington County

    # by dave :: March 13th, 2018 at 8:28 PM