Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone were locked in a virtual dead heat with nearly all of the votes counted in Pennsylvania’s special election for a U.S. House seat Tuesday.
Lamb carried a lead yet the margin was so tight it could prompt a recount. With 99% of votes counted, Lamb led by just 847 votes — 49.9% to 49.5% — with about 3,200 absentee ballots left to be counted.
Still, it was an achievement for the Democrats in a district that President Donald Trump won in 2016 by 20 points. Both parties were using the race to road test tactics they want to deploy in November’s midterm elections. The district, which covers parts of four counties southwest of Pittsburgh, has voted so heavily Republican that Democrats failed to field a candidate in the past two elections.
The seat became vacant when GOP Rep. Tim Murphy resigned in October after it was revealed the antiabortion lawmaker asked a woman with whom he’d had an affair to consider terminating a pregnancy.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both campaigned for Saccone, yet experts from both parties predicted a tight race, which could rattle incumbent Republicans fighting to hold their House majority and energize Democrats hoping to oust them.
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