Latest: Pence says everything at stake in Pa. election

Associated Press

CANONSBURG, Pa. (March 13, 2018) — The Latest on the Pennsylvania special election in the 18th Congressional District (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says Tuesday's special election in a western Pennsylvania House district is "about a whole lot more than the two candidates" on the ballot.

In an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Pence says "the only thing at stake is everything" in the race between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb.

Pence is looking to drive Republican turnout to boost Saccone, who has struggled in a district President Donald Trump won by about 20 percentage points.

The vice president argues that Trump's entire agenda is on the line in a race that is being viewed as a bellwether of a challenging midterm election cycle for Republicans.


3:40 p.m.

The conservative Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board has offered a novel endorsement of Republican Rick Saccone in Tuesday's surprisingly competitive special congressional election.

The newspaper says Democrat Conor Lamb is impressive, but argues that an upset in Pennsylvania could start a "Democratic wave" that would lead to President Donald Trump's impeachment.

Neither Lamb nor Saccone has focused on the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The paper insists the country must not "dive into so great a distraction."

While some Democrats have called for Trump's impeachment, House Democratic leaders say they do not intend to pursue impeachment and would rather defeat Trump at the ballot box.


2:30 p.m.

Donald Trump Jr. is in southwestern Pennsylvania trying to boost the Republican candidate to victory in Tuesday's special election for a U.S. House seat.

Trump Jr. on Monday called Republican Rick Saccone someone who will help his father fight for jobs to come back from overseas.

Polls show a close race between Saccone and the Democrat, former federal prosecutor Conor Lamb, in a district that President Donald Trump won by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016's presidential election.

Saccone supports Trump and hews closely to Republican orthodoxy. The 33-year-old Lamb pitches himself as an independent-minded Democrat who opposes sweeping gun restrictions, endorses Trump's new steel tariffs, and tells voters he won't back Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California for speaker.

Tuesday's election is being watched as a potential harbinger for November's congressional elections.


11:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is highlighting a Pennsylvania newspaper's endorsement of the Republican candidate in Tuesday's special election for a U.S. House seat.

Trump tweeted Monday about the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's backing of state lawmaker Rick Saccone for Congress. Trump says Saccone "will be much better for steel and business. Very strong on experience and what our Country needs." Trump campaigned for Saccone in Pennsylvania on Saturday night.

The president says Saccone's Democratic opponent — Marine Corps veteran Conor Lamb — "will always vote for Pelosi and Dems.

Lamb, however, has pledged not to support House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for another term as her party's House leader and says he will go his own way.

Tuesday's election is being closely watched for signs of where the momentum is heading into November's congressional elections


12:46 a.m.

Congressional candidate Rick Saccone has struggled more than Republicans in southwest Pennsylvania usually do.

So he's hoping that conservative voters see his race against Democrat Conor Lamb as proxy for the national political struggle playing out in Washington.

Polls show Lamb and Saccone in a tight race ahead of Tuesday's special House election.

Lamb has run as an independent-minded figure. He avoids criticizing President Donald Trump and says Democrats' congressional leaders should be replaced.

Republicans have tried to paint Lamb as a lackey for national Democrats who are unpopular in the district. Saccone emphasizes that he's a staunch opponent of abortion rights. He also enthusiastically supports President Donald Trump.

The president told Saccone supporters last weekend that Lamb is trying to con them.

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