A Democratic candidate's win in a Republican dominated Pennsylvania area in a congressional election is viewed by many as a referendum on Donald Trump's presidency. The results declared early in Wednesday were too close to call. Signifying a warning bell to Republicans with eight months to go for national midterm elections; the official results of moderate Democrat Conor Lamb beating conservative Republican Rick Saccone by a fraction of a percentage point is a wake-up call. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won the Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District by almost 20 points.
While all are waiting for the TV networks to predict a winner; officials were busy counting several hundred absentee ballots to declare the winner. According to Democratic sources, this count might have Lamb winning the election by a margin of over 400 votes. Before the results were declared, 60-year-old Saccone who has described himself as 'Trump before Trump was Trump' he stated that it meant that he never gives up and would fight to the end. With the results declared, Lamb, a US Marine veteran, expressed happiness stating that despite taking more time than anticipated; they did it. Lamb's victory has boosted the morale of Democrats nationally in their battle to win control of the US House of Representatives from Republicans in the November elections.
Lamb's victory takes a higher significance as he won in a district where the Republican presence was so dominant that the Democrats ran no candidates in the previous two US House elections here. A favorable asset was Lamb's image as a moderate which helped beat Saccone's lead of 10 percentage points in January. The string support from the unions helped many Democratic supporters show their opposition to Trump.
The election helped to replace a Republican who had to resign because of a scandal last year. This win along with the win of a governor's race in Virginia and a Senate win in conservative Alabama is making the morale of Democrats rise notches higher. Even though the Pennsylvania result will not change the power equation in the House; it boosts the Democrats war to win 24 seats to gain control in November. The University of Virginia Center for Politics stated that of the 85 deemed competitive contests, 55 are in congressional districts where Trump triumphed in 2016.
Saccone's poor performance has shaken the Republicans who were confident that their exclusive major legislative achievement, the tax cuts would seal their win. However, it seemed to have failed to energize local voters with the majority of them viewing it as a giveaway to the wealthy.