March 23, 2018

GOP Candidate Struggling In Trump Country, So He'll Get A Presidential Boost

10 March 2018, 09:14 | Winifred Adams

GOP Candidate Struggling In Trump Country, So He'll Get A Presidential Boost

Trump lends White House weight to House race in Pa.

Former Vice President Joe Biden criticized some members of the Democratic Party for being out of touch with the working class during a Pennsylvania campaign rally for House special election candidate Conor Lamb. And a deep-blue progressive would not be within striking distance of winning this race in a suburban-rural congressional district where, despite having a 25,000-voter registration advantage, Democrats didn't even field a candidate in 2016.

And while Trump won the region by almost 20 points little more than a year ago, polls now suggest that the Republican and Democrat are essentially tied. "They've have insane uncle Joe Biden", Saccone said before Conway's visit.

He said Republicans "talk about caring about" and offering solutions for those regions, "but they're not doing any of it".

"He'll never leave anybody behind", Biden said at the Carpenters Training Center in Pittsburgh late Tuesday afternoon. It's about who the hell we are and what we've done.

Lamb welcomed Biden's support as a unifying figure, who "knows in his bones the struggles" of workers. "You've always had my back", he said. He's is a 33-year-old former federal prosecutor and ex-Marine.

And while campaigning for him, the former vice president paid Lamb the ultimate compliment: "He reminds me of my son Beau", Biden said, referring to his eldest son who died of brain cancer in 2015.

Twice, Lamb introduced Biden as "a leader that everybody likes". In some ways, Lamb is trying to run independent of the president, rather than as a referendum on him, and it seems to be resonating.

GOP Candidate Struggling In Trump Country, So He'll Get A Presidential Boost

He drew a massive crowd last fall in Birmingham, Alabama, to kick off Doug Jones' push to the Senate special election. A loss would be wholly embarrassing, many Republicans privately acknowledge, given that it would take place in a state that Trump made a cornerstone of his 2016 victory. In their sporadic rankings of potential 2020 Democratic candidates, The Washington Post has consistently put Biden in the top three names.

There's evidence to support Biden's assertion that Lamb can win.

The poll surveyed 707 likely voters in Pennsylvania from March 6 to March 8, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP political arm, has spent more than $3 million to try and keep Saccone afloat. That's a massive price tag for a race Democratic groups are largely ignoring.

President Trump signed controversial orders to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum on Thursday, while surrounded by steelworkers. This will be Trump's second visit to the district in 2018.

Both 18th District candidates expressed some support for the tariffs in a recent debate. It's not fair, and it's not right.

"I think some of the things that (the president) will be discussing is his goal of shoring up the steel industry and the aluminum industry", said Jackie Kulback, chairwoman of the Cambria County Republican Committee and chief financial officer at Gautier Steel in Johnstown.

At that time, Trump called Saccone "a real friend and a spectacular man".

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