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Republican congressman suggests voter fraud may have helped Conor Lamb

17 March 2018

Democrats boasted optimistically of an impending wave, and produced a new list of races that suddenly seemed within reach. Republican strategist Charlie Gerow reiterated the claim: "Here [is] a Democratic candidate that tailored himself to that district, making himself sound much more like Donald Trump that Nancy Pelosi ... in fact saying [that] he won't vote for Nancy Pelosi when he gets to Washington". However, that didn't prove to be enough, as Lamb won by a razor-thin margin. In 2010, with unemployment hovering near 10 percent, the moderate Democratic Blue Dogs were the party faction most obsessed with austerity instead of jobs, and as a direct result, they nearly all got washed out of office.

Election officials then started counting several thousand absentee ballots to try to decide the result but Lamb claimed victory ahead of any official announcement and before TV networks, which often call USA elections, had predicted a victor. Officials have seven days to count provisional ballots, and either side can ask for a recount.

The Associated Press has not called the race.

Most House Democrats on Wednesday wouldn't delve into the leadership question but some did say they expect candidates to take the same tact as Lamb and oppose Pelosi.

Most of the candidates simply didn't respond.

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Other candidates insisted that they didn't know how they would vote. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee claimed victory for Lamb in a statement Tuesday night, while the National Republican Congressional Committee said it was "confident" Saccone would win. (The latter point is the most fraught: Do Democrats really want to let irrational fear of powerful women dictate their choice of leaders?) It is true, though, that deposing Pelosi would have at least a temporary messaging benefit in some tough districts this fall. "If I'm the Republicans, I'm terrified". On Wednesday, Ryan highlighted that numerous Democrats will have to face primary elections, which can force candidates to the left and potentially make them less appealing to independent or Republican voters. "It's all a big lie", Lamb said in the ad.

Trump still wows the crowds. These towns traditionally support Republicans. Having purchased what Trump was selling once, Americans have been carefully assessing what their votes bought. In the wake of his victory, many Democrats running for Congress in her home state are keeping the House minority leader at arms length. "That's a lot", Trump said.

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The White House, of course, tried to paint a different picture.

His Republican opponent Rick Saccone, 60, is a four-term state lawmaker, Air Force veteran and former counterintelligence officer who has referred to himself as Mr Trump's "wingman". The more she refuses to go away and publicly complain, the better the political prospects become for the Republican Party. Party officials were placing the blame squarely on Saccone's campaign but also on Trump's Saturday rally for the candidate, which some Republicans believe helped drive up Democratic turnout.

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The pattern of Lamb's narrow victory was similar to results in other special congressional and state legislative elections over the past year.

"Even Democrats have to pretend to be like Trump in - and this is Pennsylvania". There are plenty of others, they say. That oversight may cost Democrats their chance of taking back the House.

So why is this a big deal for Republicans? But results so far are mixed. Saccone noted his history of being pro-life, of supporting gun rights, and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (or "Obamacare").

Standing up against a tax plan that will give 83 percent of its tax cuts to the top 1 percent of earners will do more to define the progressive economic agenda, and do it in sharp contrast with the bill that only received Republican votes.

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Republican congressman suggests voter fraud may have helped Conor Lamb