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A deadlocked House special election in Pennsylvania’s Trump country was too close to call Tuesday night, according to NBC News.
As votes filtered in for the 18th District race between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone, neither candidate emerged with a clear edge. With nearly all the votes counted, less than 1 percentage point separated the candidates in a district President Donald Trump won by 20 percentage points in 2016.
Ahead of this year’s midterm elections, the parties vie for at least a moral victory in Pennsylvania. A Democratic win could signal trouble for the GOP in other red pockets of the country. A Republican victory may give the GOP hope that it can limit the gains Democrats can make in November’s House elections.
Regardless of the final outcome, the race fits a pattern of Democrats outperforming 2016 results in House special elections since Trump took office.
The election’s result could affect midterm candidate and recruitment on both sides of the aisle. Pro-GOP groups poured more than $10 million into the race to avoid a loss that may shake up November’s battle for control of Congress. Outside groups aimed to boost Saccone as Lamb’s campaign raised more than 4 times more money than his.
Pennsylvania’s soon-to-change congressional map makes the longer-term effect of the election less clear. Because the state’s districts will change, the winner could only represent the district he won for a few months.
If he runs again in November, Lamb would have to challenge Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa., in the new 17th District. Saccone would have to run for election in a revised 18th District.
The Pennsylvania district opened up when Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., resigned last year under a cloud of scandal. Murphy won every election there from 2002 to 2016, and no Democrats even challenged him in his last two victories.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.