March. In like a Lamb. -- Strong Performance by Democrat Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania Shakes Trump and G.O.P. https://t.co/fO9NwbEdjs— Douglas Stevenson (@dougkindcreativ) March 14, 2018
Democratic candidate Conor Lamb appears to have won (at least for the moment) a contentious election in Pennsylvania against Republican opponent Rick Saccone, a race that many people see as a bellwether for other elections in the months ahead.
Although the Congressional district the two were vying for split very evenly — Lamb, who claimed victory on Wednesday morning, won by less than three-tenths of one percent — the Democrat’s victory is seen as a huge blow to Republicans across the nation.
By all accounts, Saccone should have won the district, which is nestled in the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Once considered a safe bet for the Republicans, the electoral outcome on Tuesday night demonstrates a 20-point shift from how it voted for President Donald Trump back in 2016. Even if Saccone had squeaked out a victory against Lamb, that the race was so close undermines the resolve of the president’s agenda.
Trump is likely upset about the outcome of the election, and not just from the standpoint of losing an individual district for the party; the president personally campaigned in support of Saccone at a rally for the candidate this past weekend.
Trump even bragged about how Republicans had won five special elections for House seats since he became president — ignoring that special election outcomes in state legislative districts across the country have seen huge wins for Democrats where they had previously been held by Republicans. Trump has also disregarded a special U.S. Senate election in December that saw Democrat Doug Jones defeat Republican Roy Moore in a state where Trump had won in 2016 by nearly 30 points.
Perhaps the most nerve-wracking part of Lamb’s win on Tuesday night is the fact that it wasn’t considered that competitive of a district. According to one analysis, at least 114 other Congressional districts currently held by Republicans are more competitive than the one captured by the Democratic candidate Tuesday.
While it would be a huge uphill battle to win that number of seats, all signs are pointing to a Democratic wave taking over Congress this fall. Lamb’s win, and the myriad of districts turning blue in the past few months, seem to confirm a change is coming to Washington.