By this time Conor Lamb has not officially been declared the winner, but in all likelihood, unless Rick Saccone wins a supermarjority of the absentee ballots, most of which come from Lamb’s friendliest county, Rick Saccone will walk away from this one tail between the legs. However, the specific outcome of this race does not dwarf the fact that Saccone had no business pursuing a higher office. Earlier in this election cycle, I wrote a piece called Blue wave looking weak in Pennsylvania special election. I mistakenly made, based off the actions of the Democrats, that this race was Saccone’s for the grabbing. At the time polling showed Saccone winning and Democrats appeared to be consolidating their funds elsewhere. What I remain well-foresighted on was my critique of Rick Saccone and Conor Lamb as well. Saccone’s background served as little justification for a State Rep seeking a promotion.
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.
I briefly summarized Saccone in my previous article stating:
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.
So the disastrous election day for Saccone isn’t terrible surprising, nor are we lack for a clear explanation. Connor Lamb, as I noted in the article, was a good candidate. He had experience he could leverage in order to convince voters to vote for him. A good military background and experience as a US Attorney out-qualified the placeholding State Representative. But Democrats are rushed to assume Rick Saccone’s shortcomings are a setback on the Trump administration. I believe that campaigning is a skill, and some people really suck at it: Mitt Romney. Conor Lamb is good while Saccone blew a double digit lead [insert Warriors or Falcons meme here] that Trump won the district with in the 2016 Election. Such a swing could indicate that leftism is on the rebound one year following Trumpism in power. But this would only be true if indeed Conor Lamb campaigned as a leftist. Alas, leftists should halt their celebration of a Blue Wave, for Conor Lamb ran more as a Dan Lipinski than a Marrie Newman.
While Democrats might be ever so inclined to believe that leftism has an appeal among the common folks, Conor Lamb ran as a complete moderate. Rick Saccone relied on tribalism, the premise of any Democrat being worse than any Republican. Democrats ought to learn that foregoing elitist leftist ideals will better serve their 2018 chances. But they won’t. We shall see just how well the Blue Wave fairs for all the leftist senators campaigning in states Trump won. Republicans are like to take this race as a wake-up call to defend that which they have spent years trying to gain. But every race is, in moderate or large degree, independent of up or down the ballots. Conor Lamb winning shows that Rick Saccone had no business running. Candidates matter is a lesson we should all learn. Rick Saccone was the regrettable choice for Republicans.