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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Lamb Campaign Ads Spotlight Strategy for Dems Running in Conservative Districts

As Conor Lamb’s race to represent PA-18 enters the final two weeks, Democrats have reason to be encouraged that the template he is forging could provide the edge they need to flip majority control of the House of Representatives. A quick peek at some of the entries in the #PA-18 twitter page captures  the tone and the excitement mojo Lamb’s campaign is creating for the March 13th special election in Pittsburg’s working-class suburbs:

Damn, @ConorLambPA is killing this debate. I honestly think Dems are going to pull off a #PA18 win on March 13th. Also, Rick Saccone gives off a creepy, Roy Moore vibe.https://t.co/BNSsKP8GCY

— William LeGate (@williamlegate) February 20, 2018

From the Mt. Lebanon Democratic Committee meeting tonight: “Out with the lyin, In with the Lamb.” #PA18 pic.twitter.com/OH4vlsELni

— Conor Lamb (@ConorLambPA) February 24, 2018

An attack on any union is an attack on all unions. Rallying & marching with organized labor today because when unions are under attack, we #RiseUp, we stand together & we fight back. #PA18pic.twitter.com/REDMXKh4DN

— Conor Lamb (@ConorLambPA) February 26, 2018

A new TV ad by Patriot Majority PAC, which favors Lamb, takes no prisoners in addressing the shady record of Lamb’s Republican opponent, Rick Saccone. A transcription from the ad:

“Conor Lamb is a Marine and former prosecutor, with a proven record of putting drug dealers behind bars, who will work to create good paying jobs, make healthcare more affordable, and protect Medicare and Social Security,” said Craig Varoga, president of Patriot Majority PAC and a Pittsburgh native. “Whereas Rick Saccone has allowed lobbyists to pay for lavish meals for himself and billed Pennsylvania taxpayers $435,172 in questionable expenses, all on top of an $87,180 annual salary. Case closed.”

Here’s how the ad rolls:

 Republican ads attacking Lamb have tried to portray him as just another Democrat who would do the bidding of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who seems to be the GOP’s boogeywoman for 2018. This is a very tough sell because “Lamb has pledged not to support the 77-year-old former speaker for another term as her party’s House leader and casts Saccone as the real lackey in the race, certain to cut Social Security and Medicare,” reports AP’s Bill Barrow.

But the Lamb campaign has some catching up to do in order to remain competitive with their opponent, according to David Weigel, writing at PowerPost:

…When outside groups are added to the mix, the count shows 743 more ads for the Republican than for Lamb. Ending Spending Action Fund, the Congressional Leadership Fund and the National Republican Congressional Committee have all spent seven figures on the race, totaling more than $7 million for Saccone; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $224,000 on TV ads but has been off the air since last week.

Lamb has also repeatedly outed Saccone as a toady for Republican Speaker Paul Ryan. “Not only does he support Paul Ryan,” notes Lamb, “his entire campaign is being funded by him, and all of his ideas come out of Paul Ryan’s book.”

Lamb is clearly building momentum, and recent polling indicates that the race is in toss-up territory, according to the Cook Political Report — an impressive achievement in a district that Trump won by 20 points.

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