The gerrymandering fight looming over Pennsylvania's special election

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In a final-hours message on Fox Business Network, Saccone said that he's ready and willing to help Trump.

Outside his office in Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Democratic State Rep. Dan Miller told me "Conor [Lamb] is from right here - in fact, he lives in his grandparents' home right down the street". Democrats can win over a good number of these voters by nominating candidates who fit their district, rather than those who pass every progressive litmus test.

"I've talked to so many of these on the left", Saccone said.

While Lamb is depending on union support, Saccone needs support from Trump voters like Judy Wilson.

To better understand the race - and what it all means about and for Trump - I reached out to Jon Delano, the lead political analyst for Pittsburgh's KDKA, for his perspective. Lamb has bucked the national Democratic Party in his effort to win in the 18th district, saying he wouldn't support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker.

The Cook Political Report initially said the race favored Republicans, citing the way PA districts were drawn, but recently Cook changes the race's distinction to being a toss-up - which alone could be viewed as a small victory for Democrat candidate Conor Lamb, who is looking to flip the longtime red seat.

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That 20-point margin Trump won the district by in 2016 gives us a baseline of Trump support in the district. The data folks over at 538 caution that special elections are tough to predict and that the current special election cycle has seen some significant swings toward the Democrats. "The Trump voters have to get out and vote".

The president has campaigned in the district twice and sent several tweets on Saccone's behalf. On Monday, Donald Trump Jr. told me that this election was NOT a referendum on his father's performance in the White House.

"This guy should win easily", Trump told the crowd at the rally.

Following the national debate on tariffs following the president's announcement of steel and aluminum tariffs, both Saccone and Lamb voiced support of the plan during their second debate.

Lamb has positioned himself as a moderate and could offer a roadmap for other Democratic candidates running in areas outside liberal strongholds. He resigned last fall. Saccone is also a former Air Force Officer and civilian employee with the U.S. Army in Iraq, and highlights a diplomatic mission to North Korea in the early 2000s as one of the high points of his career.

But the region has doesn't have as many steelworkers as it did in the industry's heydays, even if there's still a cultural association. When the eight-term congressman vacated the seat in October, there came no chest-puffing from national Democrats plotting how to reclaim the 24 additional seats they need to take over the House.

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The special election is being held today, with polls closing at 8 p.m. tonight.

Abortion: Lamb personally opposes abortion but backs the Supreme Court's decision legalizing it. President Trump was in the district over the weekend, trying to help make sure it stays that way.

Just previous year, Democrat Doug Jones was propelled to an Alabama special election victory over Republican Roy Moore when more than $10 million of outside money went to supporting Jones and opposing Moore, compared to under $3.3 million spent supporting Moore and opposing Jones.

Even if Saccone, a state legislator, prevails, it would demonstrate that Democrats are competitive in places they hadn't been before and force the GOP to spend time and money defending what had been safe Congressional seats as they try to hold on to their House majority in November. In addition to anemic fundraising, Saccone hired a political strategist of whom the party and White House did not approve.

"Mr. Lamb has done what many Democrats have been unwilling or unable to do: speak directly and plainly to voters about their concerns".

The victor replaces Republican Tim Murphy, who resigned in October amid a sex scandal.

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