Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Rural voters largely stayed put in tight Pa. race, but Democrat cut into rural margins to win narrow victory

New York Times map; click on it to enlarge, or here for interactive version.
There's no official winner yet in yesterday's special Congressional election in Pennsylvania, though Democrat Conor Lamb has a small lead over Republican Rick Saccone and has declared victory. Whether Lamb wins or not, the closeness of the race could be interpreted as a sign that blue-collar Americans are losing faith in Republican policies, James Hohmann writes for The Washington Post. After all, President Trump won this district by 20 points in 2016, but it took millions of dollars from national political action committees and heavy support from Trump and other GOP luminaries to bring this race even.

"The bigger reason that the savviest GOP operatives in town are freaking out right now, though, is that the results underscore the degree to which the party has been unable to hone in on a message that can reliably win races in this environment," Hohmann writes.

The most-current precinct-level map (above) shows that rural townships went for Saccone, but in those areas, "dozens of precincts went more Democratic than in the 2016 presidential election for Trump," Domenico Montanaro reports for NPR. In rural areas, "Lamb was able to cut into the Republican margins, and when every vote counts, as in a race like this, it can make all the difference." Lamb ran as a pro-gun, anti-abortion Democrat.

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