Home | About | Donate

'Labor Delivered This Win': Democrat Conor Lamb Prevails in District Trump Won by 20


'Labor Delivered This Win': Democrat Conor Lamb Prevails in District Trump Won by 20

Jake Johnson, staff writer

Thanks to strong backing from organized labor and an agenda that focused heavily on shielding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid from GOP attacks, Democrat Conor Lamb on Wednesday was finally declared the winner of the closely-watched special election in Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district—where President Donald Trump won by 20 points in 2016.


It is interesting to see the difference in framing between local media and the establishment media. Local media got it right, Mr. Lamb is a traditional working class democrat focused on pocket book issues and who shunned the identity politics corporate democrats love so dearly. Not that you would hear that from the NYT. Anyways, Mr. Lamb’s election is a push leftward within the democratic party and it weakens the stranglehold of corporate democrats. A full blown progressive he is not but he is a step in the right direction and his positions better reflects the concerns of his constituents.


As an Independent and a skeptic I will say that I am more glad that a Republican lost than that a Democrat won.


I am happy that the man won - because it probably helps move the country leftward given the district he ran in. However, this by no means moves the Democratic Party leftward. His positions on Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are pretty good - but his position on single payer is not. His position on taxing the wealthy is decent but his environmental positions are terrible (pro fracking and saving, rather than replacing, coal jobs).

He will now be an incumbent when he runs again in November. With the redistricting here in Pennsylvania, he will have the choice of which of two congressional districts to run in. If he runs in the more liberal district that has been created, he may very well hurt the chances of a more progressive Democrat to win (and the two districts will almost certainly end up being split between the Democrats and the Republicans). If he runs in the more conservative district being created, he may hurt his own chances a bit, but would give the Democrats the best chance to win both seats.


Your strategy suggestion surrounding the two congressional districts in question is sound, which means it’s not likely to happen. To date, the leadership of the DNC has shown no interest in being more progressive. They recently took steps to take out the progressive candidate Laura Moser in Texas by releasing their own opposition research against her before the primary. Should Lamb choose the more conservative district in which to run, the DNC will still select another Blue Dog to run in the other, more progressive district. It’s what they do.


I think one of his more important statements was/ is that members of congress and government are there to attack problems, not each other.


The cherry on top of the sundae was Mr. Trump tweet-firing his Secretary of State, the dude fourth in line for the Presidency, early on election day. 700 votes, huh?

The Republican Party sank $10 million (that we know about) into this semi-meaningless contest, because of a fear that another half dozen incumbents would simply drop out of the 2018 race if Lamb won.

Lamb is conservative on many issues but he’s more union than corporate. That’s what will gall certain centrist Democrats.

Predictit.com still gives the Republican a 5% chance of pulling this race out. I like Lamb’s odds.


Well said.


I don’t disagree with your perspective. However, while not a full blown proponent of single payer, I suspect he can be convinced and it would garner support from his base. The environmental issues are a concern and I have never really understood why people conflate environmental protection with job loss. It is clearly a growth industry and Western Penn should into the game.


He’s also against gun control.


Last I heard no winner has been declared in this election. They are still waiting for some absentee ballots to be counted and most likely it will be contested in court. Perhaps what helped Lamb the most was his ability to respond to efforts to tie him to Nancy Pelosi. Lamb said he would not support Pelosi as leader of the party in the House. Suburban Allegheny County went heavily for Lamb and he lost in the other three countries. Probably what helped him the most was the anit-Trump vote in Alllegheny county. Once you get close to a big city there is tremendous opposition to Trump. He also does not support gun control, only better background checks, which probably helped in the rural areas. It just seems to show that if Democrats run toward the center in conservative districts they can be competitive. Trump won this district by 20 points but it was still winnable. The Republicans cannot take too many districts for granted in November. The Democrats didn’t even bother to compete in this district in the last two elections but with so much opposition to Trump they gave it a try this time and may have won.


One last time, define what you mean by the center. The center of what? Doug Jones won recently more than anything because of the support of African Americans and the poor. What did he recently vote for? That rotten bank deregulation bill. Past financial deregulations really harmed which groups? African Americans and the poor. People right now are often voting against Trump and the right wing, but if these Democrats get power and govern like what you call centrists (without explaining what you mean by that) those policies will continue to fail and they will be thrown out in a few elections. It is beyond depressing that no matter what happens, people like you will conclude that the key is to run towards an establishment that has no legitimacy and an establishment that supports policies that are complete failures. If that happens, this wave will be short lived and the right wing will be back making everything worse. Your party has no vision and no alternatives, and what it does with its power matters. The so called “centrists” are.the reason why your party has no vision and refuses to support popular and progressive policies.

Any rate, have some guts and for once define centrist and the center. The center of what? Bernie Sanders takes positions on issues that a majority of the country supports. He is the centrist.


It was the DCCC that acted in the Texas primary, not the DNC. They are actually organizationally distinct. DNCs Perez stated he disagreed with that action.


Yeah, and Franklin Roosevelt ran as a fiscal conservative but became a deficit tax and spender. So what!
You purists keep shooting yourselves in the feet, if you’ll pardon the expression.
Conor Lamd said he will defend Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. Rest assured, you purists, abortion, that wonderful, enjoyable “choice” a woman makes, isn’t ever going away. EVER. The Cons have lost that battle, they just don’t realize it. And guns aren’t going away either. EVER. Libs/Progs have lost that one too, but just don’t realize it. You can outlaw both to your hearts’ content but reality won’t obey your laws.
FDRs Second Bill of Rights THANKFULLY said nothing about abortion, NOR about owning guns. Quit fucking yourselves over wedge dogma for God’s sake!!!


I think that’s Wiseowls point, but refining that “more or less” a bit.


I stand corrected on the acronym, should’ve said the Democratic Party leadership. That Perez disagreed with the action is of no consequence; it’s the politically smart thing to do, and a typical response to the Party’s progressive wing. “We admit we screwed you over and we’re not all that sorry because you have nowhere else to go.”


Yes. An act more stupid than effective.


I’m not sure exactly how much control they have in the primaries (some obviously - but I think CD commentators tend to overstate it).

After reading a bit more I see that Lamb is likely to run in the new 17th district (where he lives) and which has a competitive Democratic primary and is the newly competitive district in the Pittsburgh area with a really bad incumbent (Rothfus) who is vulnerable. Lamb’s running will make it three conservative Democrats in the race representing DNC positions: Beth Tasari (website at https://tarasiforcongress.com), Ellen McLelland (website at http://www.erinforpa.com) and Conor Lamb. The progressive Democrat in the race is Tom Prigg (website at https://www.tompriggforcongress.com). I’m not sure if Prigg stands any chance in a four-way race.


I live just 2 blocks outside of the 18th district, and I don’t watch TV, so I must admit that I did not follow this election very closely aside from counting yard signs.

The odd thing that nobody is talking about is that the new de-gerrymandered Pennsylvania map not only adjusts the district boundaries but inexplicably and far more disruptively, moves the district numbers around too. The 18th district will now cover what is now the solidly Democrat-and-leftward 14th district which is centered on the city of Pittsburgh some South Hills Suburbs and the gentrification-expelled poor black populated lower Mon Valley towns (Now mostly Mike Doyle’s District - population wise). While Mike Doyle’s 14th will now cover the hard-core-right-wing exurban McMansion belts and rural areas further to the south.

These district will go into force starting with the May primaries - so I remain extremely confused how this will work. So is Connor Lamb going to suddenly become my congressman in an election I couldn’t even vote in? Are the McMansion Republicans to my south going to be represented by the left-of-Connor Mike Doyle? Are all the incumbent congressmembers going to play a electoral musical chairs game to try to re-occupy the old geographic area of their district?


Thanks for the update. It will be interesting how all this unfolds in PA this year. Having run for state office as a Democrat, party backing shows up very early, if they like you. You will be introduced to the big cogs in the party machine: the big funders, the Labor Leaders, the people you need endorsements from, the delegates you need to schmooze, not to mention hooking you up with campaign managers, public relations firms, and those already elected.