Loading...
'BYH' to the GOP, working on their new motto, "We don't mind if a man tries to rape you, we only care if you don't want...

Pennsylvania House race rattles Republicans

albert hunt

Albert Hunt

Loading…

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

It's easy to hype the significance of special congressional elections, but the one next Tuesday in western Pennsylvania has really become a big deal.

A young Democrat's recent surge in the polls gives President Donald Trump just a week to head off a panic in his Republican party and validate his dubious claim that big tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are political winners. A Republican loss in a Trump-friendly district would be a huge blow in an already bad period for the White House.

Trump is scheduled to campaign on Saturday for Rick Saccone, the Republican candidate in a district that has been reliably Republican and that Trump carried by almost 20 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

But neither side doubts that the Democrat, Conor Lamb, a 33-year-old former Marine and prosecutor, has at least an even chance to score an upset that would be seen as the harbinger of a Democratic wave in November.

Private polls on both sides show a tight race, but with probable Democratic voters more enthusiastic; intensity often is a crucial factor in a special election. A public poll released this week by Emerson College shows Lamb with a narrow lead and the political betting market PredictIt now him as the slight favorite.

The demographics of the district would make Republicans shudder at a defeat, giving evidence that a lot is going wrong for the party nationally. It is disproportionately blue collar, white, union-friendly, older and non-college educated - dominated, that is, by the type of voters who swung the state and the presidential election to Trump.

Other than a slice of the Pittsburgh suburbs, it's mostly a manufacturing area with some jobs in steel. There's reason to believe that the surprise timing last week of Trump's announced tariffs on steel and aluminum - which caught even top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn by surprise - was intended to boost prospects in this critical contest.

If the Democrat wins three days after Trump's appearance in the district on Saturday, it'll set off fear among party strategists that they're likely to drop dozens of seats in November and lose control of the House.

Trump will stress his proposed 25 percent tariff on steel imports, which is popular in the contested district. He's under pressure from Republicans elsewhere to modify this plan, but don't expect that to happen before the March 13 election day.

Both Lamb and Saccone have embraced the steel tariffs, and early indications are that it might not be of much assistance to the Republican candidate, who has a decidedly anti-union record as a state legislator.

Lamb has kept his distance from national Democrats, but one of the few outsiders his campaign has enlisted, former Vice President Joe Biden, is scheduled to arrive this Tuesday for a labor rally and to speak at a college. On Friday, Steelworkers President Leo Gerard is scheduled to lead a Lamb rally in a district that has more than 80,000 voters in union households.

Lamb, who has raised more money than his opponent, has prepared a series of 11th-hour campaign ads stressing his opposition to cuts in Medicare or Social Security and in favor of more support for teachers and cops, union rights and campaign-finance reforms.

Outside pro-Republican groups have spent millions attacking Lamb as a Nancy-Pelosi-loving left winger despite his centrist positions and pledge, if elected, not to support Pelosi for party leader.

Whichever way the vote goes, a victory could be short-lived. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court drew new congressional district lines for the May primaries and November general election, and neither candidate lives in the new district that would be formed by the court's plan. Thus, whoever wins will have to decide whether to run in a new adjoining district in two months.

Albert Hunt is a columnist for Bloomberg View, was the executive editor of Bloomberg News, before which he was a reporter, bureau chief and executive Washington editor at the Wall Street Journal.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

September 22, 2018

Bloomberg Opinion

President Donald Trump's planned nomination of Nellie Liang to the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors, which oversees everything from interest-rate policy to financial stability, is a little surprising. She's admirably well-qualified and in every way a good choice.

Trump hasn't…

September 22, 2018

An oft-used, if hackneyed, axiom is: Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Applied to politics, it means that if you lose a special election, don't try again in the general.

Danny O'Connor says he's going to defy that conventional wisdom. Last month, the 32 year-old Democrat barely…

albert hunt

September 22, 2018

There was the thought of leaping onto a desk and screaming “you tell ‘em” when a three-judge federal panel delivered a stern comeuppance for lawyers representing the General Assembly in the ongoing congressional redistricting case.

In their order last week to stay action of their…

Redistricting North Carolina

September 22, 2018

It happened once again with Hurricane Florence. Whenever North Carolina is in crisis — such as with storms or other catastrophes — we collectively rise to the occasion. Politics, rivalries and past animosities disappear, and we witness the best of humanity.

We have to commend state…

Tom Campbell.jpg

September 21, 2018

Where is James Baker when we need him?

The political maneuvering required to get Judge Brett Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court is probably the most important and consequential since the Florida recount in 2000, so deftly navigated by the old Republican hand Baker on behalf of George W. Bush.…

EdRogers

September 21, 2018

Hurricane Florence has drenched eastern North Carolina with more than 30 inches of rain, an all-time record for the state. Last year, Hurricane Harvey stalled over Houston and dumped more than 60 inches of rain, an all-time record for the whole country. Also last year, Hurricane Maria ravaged the…

Eugene Robinson

September 20, 2018

On Sept. 17, Politico reported, U.S. president Donald Trump partially declassified a government surveillance application targeting former campaign consultant Carter Page and directed the U.S. Department of Justice to publicly release text messages relating to the "Russiagate" probe between former…

Knapp

September 20, 2018

In his new book "Fear," Bob Woodward recounts that in April 2017, after President Trump saw images of dead Syrian children with their mouths foaming from a sarin attack, he called Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and issued an order: Get me a plan for a military strike to take out Syrian President…

MarcThiessen

September 19, 2018

Three days before the Washington-based trial against Paul Manafort was set to begin, special counsel Robert Mueller raised eyebrows in the legal community when his office filed a new charging document. Many began to wonder whether an announcement about a plea agreement with Manafort, President…

 Deanna Paul

September 19, 2018

So much of our reasoning about race is both emotional and faulty. In ordinary, as well as professional, conversation, we use terms such as discrimination, prejudice, racial preferences and racism interchangeably, as if they referred to the same behavior. We can avoid many pitfalls of misguided…

Walter Williams
296 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 30
        Next Page»   Last Page»