Saccone Holds Small Lead In Pennsylvania’s 18th

A new Monmouth poll in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district finds Rick Saccone (R) with a small advantage over Conor Lamb (D).

Using a turnout model similar to voting patterns seen in other special elections over the past year, Saccone leads by 49% to 46%.  A historical turnout model, based on lower turnout than the 2014 midterm, gives Saccone a larger 50% to 45% lead. A model with higher turnout overall, similar to a presidential election, gives Saccone a 48% to 44% advantage.

President Trump won the district in 2016 by 20 percentage points.

Also interesting: 48% say they support “what President Trump is doing,” while 47% opposed him.

Are Democrats Ready for a Campaign About Pelosi?

First Read notes that Republicans “are counting on Nancy Pelosi deciding to stay in her position as House Dem leader, and becoming a foil for GOP candidates, especially those running in competitive and red-state congressional districts.”

Indeed, check out these back-to-back TV ads that Republicans are airing against Conor Lamb (D) in next month’s special congressional race in Pennsylvania:

  • Conservative Leadership Fund Super PAC: “A $2,900-dollar middle-class tax cut for our community. Now businesses are giving workers raises and bonuses and creating jobs. Yet Nancy Pelosi and Conor Lamb are still opposing your tax cut.”

“And it raises an important question: Are Democrats prepared for Pelosi — once again — to be used against their candidates? After all, Pelosi, the first and only woman to be House speaker, is more unpopular than President Trump is.”

GOP Outspending Democrats In Pennsylvania Special

Washington Post: “Republican-allied groups have dramatically outspent their Democratic rivals 17-to-1 in the first congressional race of 2018, a special election in Pennsylvania that both parties cast as a potential bellwether for the November midterms.”

“Republicans are counting on a win in the district to send a strong message to donors, strategists and party faithful as the GOP looks to hold onto its majority: Republicans will raise the money and spend it aggressively.”

“Democratic outside groups, by contrast, view a victory in the district as a lower priority, given the large number of more vulnerable Republican incumbents they plan to target this fall in their quest to win the House. Democratic strategists also say that the uncertainty around the redistricting process could make any victory short-lived. The winner in March will have to face voters again in November, when new district lines could give Democrats a greater advantage.”

GOP Nominee Spent $430K from Expense Account

Expense records show that Rick Saccone (R), who is running in the upcoming Pennsylvania special election for Congress, spent $435,172 in taxpayer money using his expense account in his first seven years as a state lawmaker, The Intercept reports.

“Pennsylvania provides state lawmakers with generous salaries and expense policies, allowing them to bill the government for activities they deem as necessary for their job… But Saccone’s profligate use of the legislative expense account may come as a surprise. He was elected in 2010 during the tea party wave on a pledge to cut government spending.”

Republicans Dispatch Trump to Save a House Seat

“Republicans are scrambling to save a heavily conservative House seat in western Pennsylvania, dispatching President Trump to the district on Thursday while preparing a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to stave off another embarrassing special election defeat in a district that was gerrymandered to stay Republican,” the New York Times reports.

“Holding just a 24-seat majority, with retirements of veteran lawmakers piling up, House Republicans can scarcely allow Democrats to snatch a seat they have not even competed for in recent elections.”

“And Mr. Trump is loath to suffer another electoral humiliation, particularly in a district that he carried by 19 percentage points in 2016.”

Republicans Plan Aggressive Ground Game In PA-18

“Republicans are launching an aggressive ground game in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District more than three months before voters head to the polls for the special election,” WPXI reports.

“This is a race to replace Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), who resigned after revelations that he asked his mistress to have an abortion during a pregnancy scare.”

“Republicans, though publicly supporting state Rep. Rick Saccone, have fears  about their candidate’s chances against Democratic nominee Conor Lamb. A Republican campaign strategist described the race as a ‘D-candidate’ versus an ‘A-candidate,’ indicating he did not see the Republican as the strongest candidate in the race.”

GOP Worried About Special Election In Pennsylvania

Playbook: “Republicans are growing increasingly worried about the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th district. Former Republican Rep. Tim Murphy resigned after it became public that he suggested his mistress have an abortion. D.C. Republicans nominated Rick Saccone — a state lawmaker — to run, and Democrats have tapped Conor Lamb — a 34-year-old former federal prosecutor who was in the Marines.”

“The district is solidly Republican, but Republicans watching the race take shape are worried they’ll have to spend money to boost Saccone. The election is in March, and it will certainly be seen as a harbinger for the midterms.”