Voter Turnout Will Be Crucial In Toss-Up Special Election

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U.S. President Donald Trump caused a few laughs at a rally in Pennsylvania Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone on Saturday night, when he asserted that Americans would be "bored" if he acted "presidential".

Saccone is running against Democrat Conor Lamb to represent Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District. In the 2016 US presidential election, Trump won the district by about 20 percentage points over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

At the same time, Lamb opposes sweeping gun restrictions, endorses Trump's new steel tariffs, avoids attacking the president, and tells voters he wouldn't back Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California for speaker if Democrats won a House majority.

Trump drew an enthusiastic crowd in the Pennsylvania district that he won by roughly 20 percent.

Likewise, if Lamb outperformed Clinton in the most heavily Democratic areas and most Republican areas, and, for the purposes of debate, took 72 percent of the vote in the bluest areas where Clinton only took 56 percent and 41 percent in the reddest areas where Clinton only took 26 percent, that would still only get Lamb within nine points.

"Some countries have a very tough penalty, the ultimate penalty, and they have much less of a drug problem than we do", he explained during a White House summit on March 1.

"The people of Pittsburgh can not be conned by this guy Lamb", Trump said, dismissing Lamb's efforts to run as a moderate Democrat.

Va., Md. unemployment rates unchanged; DC falls, while Alaska the highest
North Carolina's unemployment rate in January didn't move from the 4.5 percent mark where it's been for three previous months. Unemployment rates in six states and the District of Columbia fell in January, with jobless rates stable in 44 states.

President Donald Trump hosted a campaign event in support of Saccone Saturday in Moon Township.

Nearby in this upper-middle-class enclave outside Pittsburgh, engineer Carol Heinecke, 57, offered another absolute reason for supporting Saccone: President Donald Trump.

Plus, the only bit of Saccone news that gained any bit of traction over the weekend was a report that he may have exaggerated the level of his diplomatic experience in North Korea. Saccone is neck-and-neck in the polls with Lamb, who is himself something of an anomaly: an Ivy League boy who served with the Marines overseas; a Democrat who is also pro-gun and willing to admit his personal (though not necessarily political) opposition to abortion. Lamb has garnered widespread appeal in the region as an old-school Democrat: a vocal supporter of blue-collar labor and the unions that support it; ostensibly less concerned with the social politics that have occupied the mantle of the party's agenda in recent years.

The groups sought to yoke Lamb to Pelosi and criticized him for opposing the 2017 tax-cut law written by Republicans. "He's good with the Second Amendment".

But while both sides have decided that the race is worth digging deep into their pocketbooks, the fact remains that, unlike Virginia and part of Georgia where candidates also went head to head previous year, this area in Pennsylvania voted solidly and overwhelmingly Republican in 2016. "Thank you, and God bless the United States of America". State Democrats chose him as the party's nominee in the special election in November, weeks after Murphy's resignation.

Trump conceded Lamb might not back Pelosi but said most House Democrats will. Murphy resigned in October amid a sex scandal. And Trump "often jokes about killing drug dealers", a senior administration told Axios last month.

"I don't know if that is popular. He's going to vote the party line".