It is still officially too close to call, but Conor Lamb has declared an against-the-odds Democratic victory in the special election in Pennsylvania's 18th District. He was introduced as "Congressman-elect Lamb" at a Hilton Inn campaign party, even as officials were counting hundreds of absentee ballots, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. "It took a little longer than we thought, but we did it. You did it!" said Lamb, whose Republican opponent, Rick Saccone, has not conceded. Unofficial results put Lamb ahead by around 600 votes. The margin is narrow enough for supporters of either side to get a recount if they can find three voters in the same precinct who attest to error or fraud, the AP reports.
The district voted for President Trump by 20 points in 2016 and has been so reliably Republican in recent years that Democrats didn't field a candidate in the 2014 and 2016 House races, meaning the result will be a major worry for the GOP heading into the midterms even if it ends up as a narrow Republican win, the New York Times notes. Trump campaigned in the district and Republican-aligned outside groups spent more than $10 million on the race, even though the winner will only hold the seat for eight months. "The real impact of this race has to do more with the symbolism of the outcome as a harbinger of things to come, and as a reflection of President Trump’s popularity," pollster Chris Borick tells the Post-Gazette.