Republican Rick Saccone’s campaign said it will explore “all legal options” after the latest vote count gave Democrat Conor Lamb a narrow lead in the race for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, KDKA-TV reports.
What’s the story?
Absentee ballots in the special election were counted late Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning, and Lamb unofficially led by fewer than 700 votes when the count was completed.
Update: Greene County absentee ballots are now counted, putting Saccone's deficit at 627 votes with just provisional & military ballots outstanding, per the great @katiegp who manned the @NBCNews Election Center through the whole night & morning.
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) March 14, 2018
Despite the result not being official, Lamb claimed victory when he addressed his supporters shortly after midnight Wednesday.
“It took longer than we thought, but we did it,” Lamb said.
Saccone, however, was not conceding defeat, telling his supporters he would “fight all the way to the end. You know I never give up.”
A consultant for the Saccone campaign told KDKA “we’re exploring all legal options” with the result still too close to officially call.
When will we know?
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said the result should be announced sometime Wednesday.
If Saccone loses, his campaign may request a recount, depending on the margin. Further legal action could be taken if they find disparities or other issues when reviewing absentee ballots, which must be filled out precisely, according to Vaughn Hillyard of NBC News.
Why is this race important?
The race has gained national attention as a tone-setting election, and many people will draw conclusions from the result about what’s to come in November midterms.
Both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have campaigned in western Pennsylvania for their respective party’s candidate in this race.
Trump won Pennsylvania’s 18th District by nearly 20 points in 2016.
Still, the legislative impact on Pennsylvania is limited regardless of who wins, because a redrawn congressional map splits the 18th District and would have Lamb running in the 17th District or Saccone in the 14th District in November.