Conor Lamb's Pennsylvania special election win offers another sign of a coming Democratic wave

Conor Lamb

It was a close one, but the new House member from Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, a district Donald Trump won by nearly 20 points, will be Democrat Conor Lamb. Republican groups poured $10 million into this race, Donald Trump visited twice (as did a host of other top Team Trump figures), and they lost.

Republicans are hustling for excuses—their candidate, state Rep. Rick Saccone, was too establishment! Couldn’t “walk and chew gum at the same time”! Has a “porn stache”! They have all sorts of reasons this election is special and unique and won’t be repeated. But those things shouldn’t matter much in a deep red district, and elections analyst Harry Enten writes that:

In the average of seven special elections before this one, Democrats were outperforming their partisan baseline (based off the previous two presidential results in the district) by 16 percentage points. In Pennsylvania 18, Lamb, the Democrat, outperformed it by 22 percentage points — a little better than average and essentially matching what they did in the Kansas 4 special election in April 2017. […]

Going back to 1994, there has been no cycle in which Democrats were doing this well in special elections. The only cycle that was close was 2006, when Democrats would go on to win 30 seats and control of the House. In both 2010 and 2014, Republicans were the ones who were outperforming their baseline in special elections.

If the past relationship between special election results and the midterm results holds in 2018, Democrats are in a strong position to take back the House in 2018.

Late Tuesday night, a Saccone consultant said they’re “exploring all legal options,” so we may be looking at a recount. But one person who hasn’t had anything to say about the result so far? Donald Trump.

Daily Kos readers contributed more than $130,000 to Conor Lamb’s campaign.

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