Curious to know what’s happening with Pennsylvania-18 US House Special Election 2018? This is the political place to be.
Will the Republicans hold Tim Murphy’s seat, which has been in their column since 2002? Election day is March 13, 2018.
This special election was created by the resignation of Murphy, who recently confessed to an extramarital affair. The 18th District of Pennsylvania has been without a congressman since October 21, 2017.
Pennsylvania-18 US House Special Election 2018: The 18th District
Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District hits the southwestern-most corner of the commonwealth. It forms a ring around the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh, taking in towns such as Washington, Waynesburg, Greensburg, and Moon Township. Pittsburgh International Airport also lies within the confines of the district.
Charlie Cook rates this as an “R+11” district in his Cook PVI (Partisan Voter Index).
Pennsylvania-18 US House Special Election 2018 Results
Breaking Down The Pennsylvania-18 US House Special Election 2018 Results
Switching our prediction from Saccone to Lamb on Election Day morning was the right call, although you could argue this one was a tie. Democratic candidate Conor Lamb won the PA-18 election by just over 600 votes, or a margin of approximately two-tenths of a percent.
The 18th District of Pennsylvania will not exist in its current form in November’s election. There will be no replay of this race, unless Rick Saccone wants to engineer a recount effort within the next few days. Such a thing would be a nuisance of an undertaking, but it is evidently being considered.
Whether Lamb or Saccone won by a few tenths of a point, it did not matter. The latter would have been a relief to the Republicans, however minor, but this was previously a district they had no trouble holding. Tim Murphy had been the congressman for the area since 2003, in its pre-2010 configuration and through 2017. His worst performance was in 2006 in the Democratic wave election when he got 58 percent. Lamb ran the right kind of campaign and connected with his district just enough. This is not a Democratic area, but the Democrats found a way to win.
What mixture it was of Donald Trump, anger at the Republicans, local politics, and the candidates themselves, we can never truly know. It was probably a little bit of everything, but those first two are going to get the most play. Doom is being signaled for the Republicans heading into the midterm elections. The generic ballot favors the Democrats by a hefty margin, at least for now, so that might not be a bad prophesy.
The lesson not to take from this is that the Democrats will flip every district that’s R+11 or less on Charlie Cook’s scale. They lost Georgia’s 6th, they lost Montana’s at-large, they lost South Carolina’s 5th, and they also lost the R+15 Kansas 4th. These races have something in common, however: all Republican seats, and all sizable swings towards the Democrats. Republicans should ignore the trend at their peril.
Pennsylvania-18 US House Special Election 2018: Final Prediction, Mar. 13
Pennsylvania-18 US House Special Election 2018: Current Analysis, Mar. 13
Two days before the election, we predicted that Rick Saccone would win the Pennsylvania-18 Special Election. Then the polls started coming out, one of which showed Democrat Conor Lamb taking a six-point lead over Saccone. Combine that with the fact that he’s not running as a fire-breathing liberal in this red district, and a slew of news articles indicating that Lamb’s ground game is cranking, like this one, and we’ve seen enough. We are amending our final prediction.
It is clear to us that Lamb has the momentum and that he has a slight edge on Election Day. Turnout will not be great — it’s snowing in the district on the morning of Tuesday, March 13 — but it typically isn’t in special elections, anyway. Democrats will have the unions on their side here, particularly the steelworkers. It was the working-class voters from this region that put Trump over the top in 2016. Now, if they turn their backs on their union, Saccone still has a chance, but the overwhelming sense in PA-18 is that Lamb is surging. As long as his people get to the polls, the upset is coming.
Pennsylvania-18 US House Special Election 2018: Election Day Information
Polls in PA-18 will be open between 7am and 8pm Eastern on Election Day.
District voters can confirm their polling place here.
Pennsylvania-18 US House Special Election 2018: Past Analysis, Mar. 11
We narrowed the Saccone margin of victory again in our final prediction, but our stance remains that he will win. We say this with a low degree of confidence, but at least we’re putting our nickel down. The hope for the Democrats is that there are polls like this one that now show Conor Lamb ahead, and very recently. A few others give Republican contender Rick Saccone a narrow advantage.
We have said it before, and we’ll say it again: this is not quite analogous to Alabama’s Senate race. The electoral environment is turning against the GOP, but this is a thoroughly red district and Saccone isn’t embroiled in a major scandal. After redistricting, it’s going to get even redder, but that’s a matter for later. That this race is close now tells you what is happening in the big picture in American politics in 2018. In fact, it may not be close at all on election night, and if not, we’ll know this was all spin.
This district should be a Republican slam dunk. It isn’t as we approach election day. Rick Saccone should be running away with this thing, but he is not. In fact, there is a realistic possibility he will lose. Lamb is positioning himself more moderately, which helps in such a Republican district. It’s going to be a close call, and if we’re wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time. A Lamb victory would be another full-blown red alert for the GOP that they are flying into the Sun this Fall. Even if Saccone wins, it probably won’t be a lot, and the prior statement holds.
Pennsylvania-18 US House Special Election 2018: Past Analysis, Feb. 19
We have narrowed the projected margin of victory for Rick Saccone by four points, to four points. Opinion polls show a race that is tightening as the vote approaches, but we have Saccone ahead because (1) he has led in all the polls and (2) this is an R+11 district. If you want to bring up “but Alabama Senate!” you can see what we said about this on February 8. It all still applies today.
The electoral climate shaping up for Democrats is advantageous. Special and state elections since 2017 have in general provided positive results, and picking off this district would be a huge coup. If it happens, they will do so with the national Democrats not investing any more money in the race. Republicans need this one in the worst way; as of now, they will get it, but there is still a ton of time left on the clock.
Pennsylvania-18 US House Special Election 2018: Past Analysis, Feb. 8
Donald Trump won the 18th District by about 19 points in the 2016 presidential election, so despite a flurry of activity picking up here, we are keeping it red for now. Not to mention, Trump’s approval ratings in the district remain above water as of the earliest parts of 2018.
This is a generally Republican-leaning area as well, with Saccone having some name recognition as a local state representative.
I know what you’re thinking: Alabama. Donald Trump won that state by more than he won PA-18, and said campaign was thought to be a GOP slam dunk. Yes, the attack ads are flying in this district, but Saccone is not Roy Moore. The latter was a highly polarizing candidate with serious allegations clouding his campaign. Saccone has no such misfortune at this stage.
Pennsylvania-18 US House Special Election 2018: Key Links
Rick Saccone, the Republican candidate running to hold the seat for his party.
Conor Lamb, the Democratic nominee in the 18th District.
The Libertarians have nominated Drew Gray Miller.
We have an election calendar, plus looks at the US elections we’ve covered so far here.