Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district is a heavily red area–thanks in large part due to gerrymandering. It is heavily Trump country with him having taken the district by 20 points in 2016. However, one candidate is giving the political action committee (PAC) End Citizens United hope for the upcoming special election set for March 13.
Conor Lamb is a Democrat running for Congress. It’s hoped that the 33-year-old Marine veteran and former federal prosecutor will be able to win against his scandal-tarnished opponent, Republican Rick Saccone. The Republican had easily held a state representative seat for more than a decade–until it emerged that the anti-abortion rights politician had engaged in an extramarital affair and encouraged his mistress to have an abortion.
In the past, the expectation would have been that a Republican could easily win the congressional seat. The current incumbent Tim Murphy is a good example of this–running unopposed in 2014 and 2016. However, things may be changing.
Democrats have been winning elections since Trump entered the White House. Thirty-four state legislative seats, one governor’s seat and one U.S. Senate seat have been turned from red to blue. The Republicans have not done as well. This has given the Democratic party and End Citizens United hope.
Saccone’s fundraising has been lackluster, but his campaign has had an infusion of money from special interests–highlighting the concerns that End Citizens United has about the ability wealthy organizations have to wield power. For instance, the billionaire Ricketts family has poured $1 million into ads via their super PAC Ending Spending Inc.
Lamb has been getting attention in the district. Recently, on a cold wintry day, he drew a crowd of about 85 people to a small town American Legion hall. That was the largest crowd for a Democratic candidate since probably the 1990s.
End Citizens United has thrown its support behind Lamb. The group previously had backed Alabama Democrat Doug Jones for Senate, which was one of several elections Democrats have won recently.
End Citizens United’s faith in Lamb may be well-placed even if the 18th district has gone red on the federal level. The Democratic party has seen some successes on the state and local levels, and Democrats hold majorities on the county commissions in three of the four counties that make up the district–highlighting that 18th district voters don’t always vote straight ticket Republican.
You may also read http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/end-citizens-united-pac-wants-make-its-name-reality for more.