Conor Lamb, a 33-year-old Democrat Marine Corps captain has mounted a surprisingly competitive bid deep in Trump country as he seeks to win a House seat in the Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District's special election.
If Lamb wins, he could become one of the most conservative Democrats in office.
It is also a race that has nabbed national attention and is seen as a bellwether for the 2018 midterms, President Donald Trump's political influence and the Democratic party's ability to deliver a message that their candidates can be competitive anywhere in the country.
In a district Trump won by nearly 20 points in 2016 some polls show the race within 5 points.
What he stands for
The former assistant U.S. attorney has vocally expressed his personal views on abortion and gun control and supported President Trump’s recent steel and aluminum tariff legislation. He says he is a proud Catholic who opposes abortion but doesn’t believe his personal views should impact legislation.
Lamb supports affordable health care and as a federal prosecutor worked closely with families whose loved ones were victims of the opioid crisis.
Lamb has also said he would work with the current administration to get the job done and that he won't support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to lead Democrats in that chamber if he is elected.
On the campaign trail
Lamb fundraising prowess has helped him maintain a competitive edge.
He has raised nearly $3.3 million during the first two months of the year. By contrast, Lamb’s opponent, Rick Saccone has raised $917,892 during the same time period. Outside groups have invested $1.7 million so far into Lamb’s campaign - Saccone has raised nearly $10.3 million in super PACs and outside groups.
Democrats are rooting for Lamb's bid to win the congressional seat and he has garnered support from political figures like former Vice President Joe Biden, who campaigned alongside Lamb at Robert Morris University in Moon, Pennsylvania last week.
“The impact would be profound. I promise if you if he wins you’re going to see probably another half a dozen Republicans say they’re not running again,” Biden told the crowd of supporters.
Still, he faces tough math to claim a win.
An ABC analysis found that Lamb would need to outdo former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in votes in both red and blue areas from the 2016 primary.
Rick Saccone, the 60-year-old four-term Pennsylvania state representative comes with decades of experience — a point he makes regularly. He served in the United States Air Force as a special agent and is a former diplomatic representative in North Korea during President George W. Bush's adminsitration.
President Trump, who recently agreed to meet with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, rallied outside of Pittsburgh Saturday for Saccone.
Trump also had a few choice words about Lamb.
“And Conor lamb, lamb the sham, lamb the sham, he's trying to act like a Republican so he gets — he won't give me one vote. I don't know him. Looks like a nice guy. I hear he's nice looking,” Trump said.
Trump accused Lamb of trying to “act like a Republican.”
The president even touted how if he met Lamb, Saccone might be angry.
"I might like him. And then Rick is going to be very angry at me,” Trump said.
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