Polls closed at 8 PM ET in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, where Republican Rick Saccone faces Democrat Conor Lamb in a special election for the final months of former Republican Rep. Tim Murphy’s term. This Western Pennsylvania seat backed Trump 58-39 and Romney 58-41, but Republicans are worried that Trump’s unpopularity, as well as a weak campaign by Saccone and a strong effort from Lamb, will allow Democrats to flip this district. While a new map ordered by the state Supreme Court will dramatically change this seat’s boundaries ahead of the November general election, Republican outside groups have still spent millions to avoid what would be an embarrassing loss.
To help follow along as the results come in, David Jarman has set “benchmarks” for all four counties in the district—target numbers that Lamb would have to meet in order to narrowly win. We’re liveblogging the results below, and you can also follow our coverage on Twitter.
A few moments ago, Westmoreland County tallied its two remaining precincts, as well as its absentee ballots, shrinking Lamb’s lead from 847 votes to 579 votes. However, this was decidedly bad news for Saccone: There are now just 1,400 absentee ballots left to count (in Green and Washington Counties), per CNN, and he’d have to win them by a 70-30 margin. That’s almost impossible, seeing as Saccone won those two counties on Election Day by just a 54-46 spread.
While there are still some votes to be counted, it’s almost impossible to imagine Saccone making up the gap, so Daily Kos Elections is calling this one for Conor Lamb, with huge congratulations on his victory! This is an enormous flip, and one that never should have happened in a district this red, but as with Alabama, here we are. What’s more, Lamb’s win brings the number of seats Democrats need to win in order to recapture the House this November down from 24 to 23.
With that, we’re going to close out our liveblog. Thank you for joining us, and check back in next week, when we cover the results of Illinois’ primaries!
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