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7 Big Takeaways From That Special Election in Pennsylvania

Little more than 600 votes out of more than 227,000 cast separate the top two candidates in the special election for a House seat in Pennsylvania, as Democrat Conor Lamb maintained a slim lead over Republican Rick Saccone, with no official winner.

Lamb, 33, is a Marine and former federal prosecutor. Saccone, 60, an Air Force veteran, is a Pennsylvania state representative and expert on North Korea.

Here are seven key takeaways from the outcome of the election Tuesday and what to expect next in a congressional district President Donald Trump won by 20 percentage points.

1. The Recount Question

Lamb delivered a victory speech late Tuesday night and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called him the victor.

But Saccone said he wouldn’t concede and wants every legal vote counted.

The Associated Press had yet to call the race as of late Wednesday.

The AP reported that at least 200 absentee ballots had not been counted by early Wednesday, and an unknown number of provisional ballots also exist.

The four counties that make up the 18th Congressional District in the Pittsburgh area have seven days to count the provisional ballots.

With such a close margin, supporters of either candidate may ask for a recount, under Pennsylvania law.

“We will have to see if a recount leads to a challenge of the result,” Kyle Kopko, an associate professor of political science at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, told The Daily Signal.

“I’d rather be Lamb now than Saccone,” Kopko said. “But it’s so close, after a recount it could still go either way.”

2. Libertarian Votes

Libertarian candidate Drew Miller captured more than 1,300 votes, a little more than twice the margin separating Lamb and Saccone.

“We don’t always get a Libertarian candidate, but it’s probably safe to say most of those votes would have gone Republican,” J. Wesley Leckrone, associate professor of political science at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, told The Daily Signal.

“That’s not to say a 1 percent victory would bode well for Republicans,” Leckrone said. “But I know a lot of disenchanted Republicans who just vote Libertarian because they won’t support the Democrat.”

Democratic strategist David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, also noted the potential impact in a tweet.


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