Conor Lamb, the Democratic candidate for a Pennsylvania congressional seat deep in “Trump country,” held a razor-thin edge over Republican Rick Saccone as some ballots were still being counted and the result could still be a week away.
Lamb on Wednesday kept a 641 vote lead over Saccone in the deep red district that President Trump won in 2016 by 20 percentage points and NBC News declared him the “apparent winner,” but provisional and absentee ballots were still being counted in at least one county and a recount is still possible.
The four counties in the 18th Congressional District have seven days to count the ballots.
A first-time candidate, Lamb, a 33-year-old Marine veteran and former prosecutor, declared victory early Wednesday but Saccone, 60, said “it’s not over yet.”
In an overnight count of absentee ballots in Washington County, Lamb got 609 votes to Saccone’s 547, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported. Greene County’s absentee votes were still out, the newspaper said.
If the election isn’t resolved after those ballots are counted, a recount or a recanvass of votes can be requested by filing a challenge with the county’s Board of Elections.
Bob Branstetter, an adviser to Saccone’s campaign, told CNN they’re waiting for all votes to be counted before making any decisions on conceding. The campaign hasn’t even discussed asking for a recount.
The special election in southwest Pennsylvania drew national attention as a referendum on Trump and his administration’s policies and as a precursor to the mid-term elections later this year.
Illustrating the importance of the race for Republicans, Trump held a free-wheeling rally outside Pittsburgh on Saturday when he declared the area “Trump country.”
His son Donald Jr. and his adviser Kellyanne Conway also visited the area to campaign for Saccone.
And Republican groups spent $10 million on the contest.
The special election was called after former Republican Rep. Tim Murphy resigned in the wake of a sex scandal.
With Post wires