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Lamb vs. Saccone: National attention on Pa’s 18th District

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Voters head into Lincoln Elementary School in My. Lebanon Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by John Hamilton / Managing Editor)

Voters head into Lincoln Elementary School in My. Lebanon Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by John Hamilton / Managing Editor)

Voters head into Lincoln Elementary School in My. Lebanon Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by John Hamilton / Managing Editor)

By John Hamilton / Managing Editor

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Voters are going to the polls today in Pennsylvania’s 18th District to decide between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone in a uncharacteristically close race in the deeply Republican district.

The 18th District favored President Donald Trump by 20 points in 2016, but polls show a very close contest in the special election for the U.S. House seat, with Lamb leading in Monday’s Monmouth poll by as much as seven points. Election tracking outlet FiveThirtyEight gives Lamb a two point edge in the polling average, though the race is within the margin of error.

Saccone, a 60-year old from Elizabeth Township, is a long-serving state representative who has embraced President Trump and his agenda. The 33-year-old Lamb, from Mt. Lebanon, is running as a conservative Democrat — his first campaign ad featured him shooting an AR-15 assault rifle — and has gained support from historically powerful labor unions.

Here are some scenes from the district on election day:

The seat was vacated in October when Tim Murphy resigned after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the pro-life Republican urged a woman he had an affair with to have an abortion.

Since the election was scheduled, voters in the 18th have been inundated with campaign ads, with many outside Republican groups pouring in money for anti-Lamb TV ads, mailings and campaign workers. Lamb’s $3.3 million in fundraising dwarfs Saccone’s $700,000, one factor in some Republicans, including Trump, reportedly calling their candidate “weak.”

Some voters in Sewickley and Monroeville called Allegheny County election officials to complain about closed polling places. Those two towns, however, are not located in the 18th District, county spokesperson Amie Downs said.

The winner of the election will have a short stint in Washington before the midterm elections in November. Additionally, neither candidate will live in the 18th district after the state Supreme Court redrew Pennsylvania’s congressional maps. Even so, the race has garnered substantial attention, with national media and political parties closely watching the “Trump Country” election as a referendum on the president.

Though much of the 18th is rural, some wealthy Pittsburgh suburbs also make up the district. This gives the district a diverse mix of political ideologies, from rural conservatives to Pittsburgh-area liberals.

Follow @ThePittNews on Twitter today for live coverage from polling places and both candidates election parties. Polls close at 8 p.m.

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Lamb vs. Saccone: National attention on Pa’s 18th District