As final votes come in, GOP panics over massive swing to Democrat in Trump country


Republicans are in trouble. There are 119 congressional districts more competitive than Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district, where Democrat Conor Lamb is giving the GOP a run for its money.

In an amazing sign of the staying power of the blue wave, Democrats are within a hair of flipping a solidly red congressional district in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night. Conor Lamb, a Marine veteran, is holding his own against Republican Rick Saccone in what used to be solid Trump country.

As of 11:15 p.m. on election night, Lamb is leading but the race is too close to call.

Rep. Tim Murphy resigned in disgrace from Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District last year after being caught urging his mistress to have an abortion. But the idea that this district in the suburbs of Pittsburgh would be competitive was laughable. After all, Republicans have held the seat for 15 years, and Trump won it by 20 points.

But Lamb's charismatic campaign contrasted strongly with his opponent's deeply flawed candidacy.

Saccone was an incompetent fundraiser. He misrepresented his military service and voted against protecting animals from abuse. And he heartlessly told a worried mother there was no funding to help her opioid-addicted son.

It didn't help that the district largely rejected the Republican tax scam, forcing the party to cancel ads touting it.

As the polls tightened, Trump leapt into the race and campaigned with Saccone. Although toward the end, both he and other Republicans railed against Saccone's ineptitude behind closed doors.

To add insult to injury for Republicans, Lamb has already won Moon Township, where Trump had campaigned just days before.

In the grand scheme of things, the outcome of this race does not greatly alter the balance of power in D.C. or electoral dynamics in Pennsylvania. The district will be completely redrawn for the midterms this November.

But it is an ominous sign to Republicans who were likely hoping they could weather the storm of energized Democratic voters. 119 House districts held by Republicans are bluer than Pennsylvania's 18th.

Just three months after the GOP's spectacular Senate loss in Alabama in December, this is the last thing Republicans needed.

Even longtime Republican voters will no longer just hand the party power. Accountability is coming to Washington, and it is coming through the ballot box.