The official outcome of Tuesday’s special House election in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district is still pending: As of Wednesday morning, the New York Times reports that Democrat Conor Lamb is leading Republican Rick Saccone by a 0.3 percent margin—641 votes—in a red district where Trump won by nearly 20 percentage points.
Still, Lamb has declared victory and NBC is calling Lamb the “apparent winner,” noting that the outstanding 200 absentee votes and provisional ballots are not enough to tip the vote in Saccone’s favor. It’s possible, however, that Saccone could demand a recount.
The seat was vacated last October after former Rep. Tim Murphy, an anti-abortion Republican who held the seat for 15 years (and ran last election unopposed), announced his resignation after texts he sent urging his mistress to have an abortion were reported on by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Lamb, 33, a conservative Democrat, is a former Marine and prosecutor who ran on a strong pro-union platform, does not support most gun control measures, and personally opposes abortion, but agrees with abortion as a constitutional right. He is, in other words, the kind of middling Democrat the party’s base is begging it to move away from.
Meanwhile, Saccone, 60, is a living nightmare.
Here’s why Pennsylvania’s special election is weird: In November, the district won’t exist because the state Supreme Court found the state map to be an unconstitutional gerrymander that benefited Republicans. Given this, Tuesday’s election kind of doesn’t matter, but a Lamb victory does reveal one thing: the Republican Party seems to be doing a pretty good job of eating shit right now. Democrats better figure out how to use the opportunity.