House Republicans are deflecting the stinging results in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, discounting Conor Lamb’s strong performance as an aberration and not a bellwether heading into this fall’s congressional midterms.
“I think Mr. Lamb was brilliant. He ran as a Republican. So, it worked for him. He certainly didn't run as a Democrat,” Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., said.
“I'm fine with the elections because it was a special election,” Kelly added. “I don't know if I'd look at this one race and say, 'Oh my God, this is horrible what happened.' Listen, I thought Conor Lamb ran a very good race because he ran on the Trump agenda. He ran totally against his party.”
“Secretary Clinton carried my district by 3800 votes and I was honored to carry it by 38,000 votes, and I analyzed last night that Conor Lamb ran as a conservative Democrat,” Lance said. “I'm very confident and the voters in my district will judge me based upon my record.”
New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins, the first lawmaker to publicly back Trump’s campaign for the presidency, placed blame on Saccone for mounting a weak race.
“I think you can't deny that and if you do, you're lying,” Cramer said.
“There are more Democrats in that district that Republicans and both of these candidates ran as conservatives,” Ryan said. “I just don't think you're going to see that across the country.”
Ryan also emphasized that the race is still too early to concede.
“I think there's lots of factors and I think it'd be wrong to deny that a midterm, and this is while it's a special, it's a midterm, is harder for the party that's in power in the White House,” Cramer said “You've got the natural headwinds of being in power.”
Sources say Lamb’s anticipated victory could send Republicans into a secondary shock wave of retirements, with Pennsylvania Republican Reps. Keith Rothfus and Ryan Costello both anticipating tough re-election bids.
Nevertheless, one moderate Republican in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's crosshairs, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, says the special election’s results won’t discourage his candidacy or shift his strategy.
“I feel the strongest politically that I’ve felt at any point in my time in Congress,” Curbelo, R-Fla., said.
ABC News' Benjamin Siegel contributed to this report.