3 Reasons That Republicans Won’t Admit Why Conor Lamb Won

There are three reasons beyond the obvious why Conor Lamb won Pennsylvania House special election that Republicans are refusing to talk about.

3 Reasons Conor Lamb won

1). Trump Hurt Rick Saccone – Republicans tried to nationalize the PA-18 race. Rick Saccone ran as a Trump mini-me. The Trump family and high profile members of the Trump administration came to the district, and Saccone lost. The Republican spin is that Trump is the reason why Saccone came as close as he did, but the truth is that any generic Republican should have cruised to victory in this district.

The problem wasn’t Rick Saccone, who was an underwhelming but not an unusual candidate. The problem was Trump. Congressional districts don’t swing 20 points in about a year without a major national shift. Republicans admit that Conor Lamb is a great candidate, but what they are leaving out is that the backlash to Trump is stronger than the motivation that he provides to his supporters. In net terms, Republicans are losing more votes by cozying up to Trump than they are gaining standing with him.

2). The Nancy Pelosi Attacks Didn’t Work – A key part of the 2018 Republican strategy to keep the House is to make the election about not returning Nancy Pelosi to power. In the 18th District, Pelosi’s name was mentioned more often than Rick Saccone’s in Republican advertising. Republicans have been coasting for nearly a decade on scaring their voters with Pelosi, but this time it failed.

Republicans have a real problem, because their bounce from the tax cuts has already worn off, and they can’t count on motivating their voters with the threat of Pelosi, so this leaves them with nothing to run on, because voters have decided that the threat of a Trump unchecked presidency is more urgent than any of the worn out Republican arguments about Nancy Pelosi.

3). The Dark Money Failed – Republicans spent ten million dollars trying to save the PA-18 seat. They threw every attack imaginable at Conor Lamb. They called him a Pelosi liberal. They claimed that he was soft on drug dealers and weak on immigration. The outside groups used all of their attacks in a relentless barrage of ads that appeared to run from 7 AM until midnight every single day in the Pittsburgh television market, and their strategy failed. Republicans were able to win special elections in places like Montana because they overwhelmed Democrats with millions of dollars in spending, but Conor Lamb and his supporters were outspent by the Republican dark money and still won.

The dark money didn’t matter because voters wanted change. They wanted someone to represent them. The biggest mistake of the campaign came when Trump promised that Saccone would vote with him 100% of the time, but voters in the district were not looking for a Trump rubber stamp. They trusted Conor Lamb’s sincerity and his focus on local issues.

Republicans can’t buy their way to victory. There are more than hundred Republican-held seats in districts that Trump carried by less than the 18th. Republicans can’t afford to spend tens of millions of dollars on all them. The dark money can’t save the House majority, and the failure of dark money is a big reason why Conor Lamb won