Comparable to the Arizona Special Election that is to take next week, the Pennsylvania 18th district is in a special election situation because of unacceptable behavior of Rep. Tim Murphy who during an extramarital affair reportedly asked his mistress to get an abortion. The Republicans have handily controlled PA18 for years and don’t want Murphy’s buffoonery to mess things up. The Republican champion in this race is Rick Saccone. An open seat in a northern state presents a great opportunity for Democrats to cash in on the Blue Wave they keep boasting. The victory of Doug Jones provides a road win Democrats have so far lacked since 2016. Looking to be PA18’s Doug Jones is Conor Lamb. Lamb is an assistant US attorney who served in the Marine Corps. His platform emphasizes healthcare related issues as well as student debt and energy.
Who is Rick Saccone?
The House of Representatives would be a promotion for the current State Rep. However, Rick Saccone hardly has an active record in the PA legislature. For the most part, Saccone has a record of sponsoring lighthearted, if not outright nonsensical bills, such as a resolution appreciating Heinz Ward and Juneteenth. In the legislature, he has a record of voting in favor of guns and unborn. However, Rick Saccone is not a limited government conservative on a local level. In the past he has voted for tax increases.
State of the Race
As of now, all of the recent polling has the 18th district reliably in the GOP’s hands. However, polling in 2018 will likely continue its downward trend of effectiveness. So take it with a grain of salt. The endorsements are piling high for Rick Saccone. He has the thumbs up from both Trump and Pence, along with several conservative organizations. The recent polling is perhaps responsible for what seems like the Democrats capping their support for Lamb. The GOP, on the contrary, is throwing heavy cash on keeping a seat where Tim Murphy ran unopposed in 2016.
Rating: Likely Republican
Rick Saccone will in my mind comes away as the winner on March 13th. However, he is not nearly suitable for the job as he should be. He legislative record is one of recognizing days of the year as special for a person or group. He does not have a record of sponsoring serious conservative legislation. Though he does have a record of voting conservative, he isn’t a leader on the issues he is campaigning on. The GOP is right to break the bank for his campaign as they aren’t short on cash in this moment. Saccone isn’t a strong candidate in my opinion, but, with some bankroll, he is.
Conor Lamb isn’t a weak candidate but doesn’t have the resources. As for the Democrats, this investment looks like its going sour. Special elections present a time for more eggs to be placed in a single basket. But the Democrats seem to know they are unlikely to win. The Senate races of 2018 looks bleak for them, so the Blue Wave is supposed to take or come close to securing the House of Representatives. In order to do that, they need road wins. Just like the Arizona 8th, this will not be that road win. The crest of the Blue Wave is getting shorter and shorter.