NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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