Winners and Losers from the Pennsylvania Special Election
Twelve hours later, we still have no official winner in the Pennsylvania special election. Democrat Conor Lamb leads by 0.2 percent and has declared victory, but there are still absentee ballots to be tallied, and a recount is still possible.
All of that is kind of beside the point — especially when it comes to the main purpose of special elections, which is telling us about the broader political environment ahead of a general election. And whether Lamb or Republican Rick Saccone wins by a hair means even less, given that this district will cease to exist at the end of the year.
Which means it's time to name some winners and losers.
Regardless of who wins, the fact that Democrats were even in the ballgame in a district that went for President Trump by 20 points suggests good things ahead for them. There are, after all, 114 Republican House districts that are more competitive than this one. And in that way, it's a whole lot like just about every other special election this year. Democrats have repeatedly overperformed their 2016 showings in both congressional and state legislative seats — often by wide margins. The big reason Democrats don't have more wins at the House level is simply because the vacancies have come in strongly conservative-leaning districts like this one that would never be on their radar in a normal election. Combined with a big lead on the generic ballot, Tuesday's result suggests Democrats' momentum is very much intact.