Live results: Follow the Pennsylvania House special election

On paper, the Pennsylvania special election on Tuesday could appear inconsequential. The winner will serve out the rest of this year while most legislating is on pause so lawmakers can run for reelection. And the district won’t even exist in its current form come November, thanks to a redrawn map recently ordered by the state Supreme Court. But the race could have far-reaching implications for the strategy of both parties, both in Pennsylvania and nationally.

First, let’s look at how the new map changes the playing field in Pennsylvania.

Current district splits,

with PA-18

The current 18th was supposed to be safe GOP. Trump beat Clinton here by almost 20 points.

PITTSBURGH

18

PHILADELPHIA

4 districts

Clinton won by 12+ pts

6 districts

Presidential vote within 12 pts

18

8 districts

Trump won by 12+ pts

District splits in Nov. 2018, with the four districts that will get a chunk of PA-18

The new 17th District, where Lamb lives, will be a key race.

18

17

13

14

18

5 districts

Clinton won by 12+ pts

17

6 districts

Presidential vote within 12 pts

14

13

7 districts

Trump won by 12+ pts

Current district splits, with PA-18

ERIE

The current 18th District was supposed to be safely GOP. Trump beat Clinton here by almost 20 points.

PITTSBURGH

18

HARRISBURG

PHILADELPHIA

Party lean of current districts

More Republican

18

4 districts

6 districts

8 districts

Clinton won

by 12+ pts

Presidential vote

within 12 pts

Trump won

by 12+ pts

District splits in Nov. 2018, with the four districts that will get a chunk of PA-18

ERIE

The new 17th District, where Lamb lives, will be a key race.

17

18

HARRISBURG

13

14

PHILADELPHIA

Party lean of new districts

More Republican

18

17

14

13

5 districts

6 districts

7 districts

Clinton won

by 12+ pts

Presidential vote

within 12 pts

Trump won

by 12+ pts

Voters in the current 18th District ...

... will end up in four different districts in November

ERIE

ERIE

The current 18th District was supposed to be safely GOP. Trump beat Clinton here by almost 20 points.

The new 17th District, where Lamb lives, will be a key race.

17

PITTSBURGH

18

HARRISBURG

18

HARRISBURG

13

14

PHILADELPHIA

PHILADELPHIA

Party lean of current districts

Party lean of new districts

More Republican

More Republican

18

18

17

14

13

5 districts

6 districts

7 districts

4 districts

6 districts

8 districts

Clinton won

by 12+ pts

Presidential vote

within 12 pts

Trump won

by 12+ pts

Clinton won

by 12+ pts

Presidential vote

within 12 pts

Trump won

by 12+ pts

In the old map, Trump won by more than 12 points in eight of 18 districts, including the 18th District, which Rep. Tim Murphy (R) vacated in October amid a personal scandal. Democrats will count keeping the race there competitive as a victory, even if their candidate, Conor Lamb, loses: Murphy won the district handily in previous campaigns (he ran unopposed in 2014 and 2016), and Trump won there by almost 20 points.

[Pittsburgh paper backs Republican in House race, warning of impeachment ‘distraction’ if Democrats win]

The new maps shift borders, creating an additional district where Clinton won big and leaving one fewer district safely GOP. The boundaries in the new district map appear to benefit Lamb, who lives in Mount Lebanon, a Democratic enclave that will get lopped off of the existing district and attached to different area.

On the map below, each dot represents a 25-vote Trump or Clinton margin at a precinct in the current 18th Congressional District. Let’s see how those votes will get divided up among four districts in the new map.

Where the voters (and candidates) from the current PA-18 will end up

VOTE COUNTS IN THE

CURRENT 18TH

Each dot represents a +25 vote margin in a precinct that is in the current PA-18

For Clinton

For Trump

Lamb (D) lives in Mt. Lebanon, which will become part of the new PA-17.

NEW 17

NEW 18

NEW 14

Current

PA-18

border

NEW 13

Saccone (R) lives in Elizabeth Township, which will become part of the new PA-18.

VOTE SHARE: CLINTON VS. TRUMP

D+40

D+20

D+5

R+5

R+20

R+40

Note: Dots are randomly distributed within current PA-18 precincts

Where the voters (and candidates) from the current PA-18 will end up

VOTE COUNTS IN THE

CURRENT 18TH

VOTE SHARE: CLINTON VS. TRUMP

Each dot represents a +25 vote margin in a precinct that is in the current PA-18

D+40

D+20

D+5

R+5

R+20

R+40

For Clinton

For Trump

Conor Lamb (D) lives in Mount Lebanon, which will become part of the new PA-17.

NEW PA-17

PITTSBURGH

NEW

PA-18

Rick Saccone (R) lives in Elizabeth Township, which will become part of the new PA-18.

NEW PA-13

Current

PA-18 border

NEW PA-14

Note: Dots are randomly distributed within current PA-18 precincts

Where the voters (and candidates) from the current PA-18 will end up

VOTE SHARE: CLINTON VS. TRUMP, ALL PRECINCTS

VOTE COUNTS IN THE

CURRENT 18TH

Each dot represents a +25 vote margin in a precinct that is in the current PA-18

For Clinton

For Trump

D +40

D +20

D +5

R +5

R +20

R +40

Conor Lamb (D) lives in Mount Lebanon, which will become part of the new PA-17.

NEW PA-17

PITTSBURGH

NEW PA-18

Rick Saccone (R) lives in Elizabeth Township, which will become part of the new PA-18.

Current PA-18 border

NEW PA-13

NEW PA-14

Note: Dots are randomly distributed within current PA-18 precincts

Lamb will now live in a different district, one represented by Rep. Keith Rothfus (R). Voters in that new area supported Trump over Hillary Clinton by just three percentage points, so the district will be much more competitive.

Lamb could present a formidable challenge to Rothfus in the new district, especially if he can show an ability to rack up votes in his home town in the north part of the existing 18th District on Tuesday.

His current Republican opponent, state legislator and former Air Force intelligence officer Rick Saccone, was not so lucky.

The race has attracted big names, such as former vice president Joe Biden, to the district to campaign with Lamb. (Jeff Swensen/Getty)

Vice President Pence and President Trump both traveled to southwestern Pennsylvania in support of state Rep. Rick Saccone. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

Saccone will live in a district that encompasses much of the city of Pittsburgh, a safe Democratic seat. “I’m going to run and win in whatever district I compete in because it’s not about the lines that are drawn, but about the values I represent,” Saccone told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in February.

The new district just to the south of his hometown of Elizabeth Township includes much of the existing 18th District and is even more Republican-leaning. Saccone has said he would likely crossover and run in that more conservative 14th District. (Candidates aren’t required to live in a district to represent it in Congress.)

What it means nationally

If the result Tuesday is anywhere near as close as polls suggest, that would be another big swing toward Democrats in a congressional special election. The elections for governors in 2017 also saw a leftward shifts compared with the 2016 presidential margin in their states.

A close GOP win on Tuesday, as some polls

suggest, would still be a shift toward Dems.

Shift to the right

2016 GOP win

2016 Dem. win

Shift to the left

+10D

0

+10R

+20R

special

election

margin

2016

margin

Possible

shift

Penn. 18th

Ala. Senate

Ga. 6th

S.C. 5th

Mont. House*

Kan. 4th

+10D

0

+10R

+20R

Va. Governor

N.J. Governor

A close GOP win on Tuesday, as some polls

suggest, would still be a shift toward Dems.

Shift to the right

2016 GOP win

Shift to the left

2016 Dem. win

+10D

0

+10R

+20R

+30R

special

election

margin

2016

margin

Possible

shift

Penn. 18th

Ala. Senate

Ga. 6th

S.C. 5th

Mont. House*

Kan. 4th

+10D

0

+10R

+20R

+30R

Va. Governor

N.J. Governor

* Montana is represented by one at-large district in the House of Representatives.

This is another example for Democrats of how to be competitive in a race they might not have contested in a different political environment. Lamb, a Marine veteran and assistant U.S. attorney, broke from his party on some issues.

He announced he would not support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in leadership races. (Republican ads still tried to link him to Pelosi.) Lamb also supported Trump’s action on steel tariffs.

A Lamb victory could signal that Republicans, who spent more than $7 million trying to hold a seat in a conservative district, will struggle to find a winning message in the coming midterms across the country.

This graphic has been updated to reflect Saccone’s position on running in the new 14th District.

About this story

Certified Congressional results from Dave Leips’ Atlas of U.S. Elections. Precinct-level election results compiled by Nathaniel Kelso and Michal Migurski. Special election results compiled by Daily Kos, other results via AP.

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