Republicans, Democrats both think voters are deplorable

Frederick Owens
March 14, 2018

President Trump carried the area by 20 points in 2016.

Sensing the public relations nightmare of a Democratic upset in a district Trump carried by nearly 20 percentage points, conservative outside spending groups have pumped about $10.6 million into bolstering Saccone, including nearly $7.7 million spent attacking Lamb.

Democrats must flip 24 Republican-held seats to gain the House majority. Lamb, a first-time candidate, raised five times as much money, then attacked Saccone for the "dark money" evening things up.

Outside GOP groups - aware of the symbolism of losing such a red seat - poured in more than $10 million to bolster him up.

Delano: Like the Democrats, the Republicans do not have a primary to select their nominee in a special congressional election. They are Republican state Representative Richard Saccone, Democratic former assistant US attorney and Marine Corps veteran Conor Lamb, and Libertarian Drew Miller.

Trump Jr. admitted they can not use his father's new slogan for 2020, "Keep America Great", which he unveiled in a rally in Pittsburgh Saturday night, if his voters become complacent.

"Saccone backs a lot of President Trump's plans for the country", said Gelb, a 48-year-old fire technician who lives in Mt. Lebanon. David Avella, a GOP strategist, said that this election has nothing to do with Trump-but that Trump should take credit if Saccone pulls it out.

Roger Valente, the chairman of the Quaker Valley GOP, a group within Allegheny County, said voters might not be aware of Saccone's background, particularly in academia, because he comes off as a blue collar worker.

The outcome could offer signs of what's to come in November's midterm elections.

While Washington Republicans talk about the race as a local anomaly, the national mood can't be ignored.

Trump's footprints are all over southwest Pennsylvania. The candidate campaigned with him twice.

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Not only did the president campaign for Moore, tweet for Moore - but Trump essentially saved Moore's campaign after numerous and detailed sexual assault allegations were leveled against the Republican candidate.

But it's not at all clear that such campaigning persuades Trump voters to vote for someone other than Trump.

Meanwhile, Clinton was in India promoting her book, "What Happened", going after Trump and his voters much as she did in her campaign and after her Electoral College loss.

In these aging industrial communities, Republicans have benefited from organized labor's declining force in Democratic politics. The AFL-CIO counts 87,000 votes from union households - around a fifth of the electorate. That number includes about 17,000 steelworkers. He resigned last fall.

Former Republican Tim Murphy enjoyed union backing in the district, making it hard for any Democrat to defeat him. A Democrat like Connor Lamb, who is anti-abortion, opposes new gun control laws and understands the deep flaws of partisanship, is the right candidate.

"I'll tell you some more - my wife and I saw it again today: They have a hatred for God", Saccone said. But the party focused more on the need to keep the seat in Republican hands than on Saccone's dozens of years in public service.

Lamb is trying to disguise himself as a moderate, but he is far left, according to Saccone. But he adds layers to the argument, criticizing the $1.5 trillion price tag. Playing to baby boomers and even older voters - a key part of midterm electorates - he says Republicans will use exploding deficits as an excuse to cut Social Security and Medicare. It would follow Democratic victories past year in a special Senate election in solidly Republican Alabama, as well as wins in Virginia, New Jersey and a handful of state races in other parts of the country.

Many Democrats have tried to counter the more extreme right-leaning Republicans with the idea that America wants and needs progressive Democrats.

But Lamb has offered a potential antidote. On Tuesday he voted for Lamb.

As with the tax argument, Democrats running outside liberal strongholds may export those tactics if Lamb wins - and even if he loses by a narrow margin.

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