United States President Donald Trump and his Republicans ran on course for a robust defeat in Pennsylvania’s special congressional election. After the recent sacking of Rex Tillerson, Trump’s former Secretary of State, the US Republicans seem to be engulfed in even more turmoil.
US Democrats are delighted by the poll performance of their candidate in a congressional election that seems to be shaping national expectations. Democrats have insisted that their success in Pennsylvania – a state that heavily supported Trump in his election – gives them a strong start in the lead-up to Trump’s midterm elections in November.
More than 240,000 votes were cast, with the last report indicating that Conor Lamb, the Democratic candidate, was leading his Republican counterpart, Rick Saccone, by a margin of 49.8% to 49.6%.
While officials continued to count absentee and provisional votes, Conor Lamb declared himself victor on Wednesday morning in a district that Donald Trump had taken by almost 20 points in his 2016 election campaign.
With Lamb’s victory seeming unavoidable, many people have speculated on the implications of such a previously pro-Trump state swinging to Democrats. Many have predicted that Trump and his Republicans will face a reckoning in the November mid-terms.
Momentum for Democratic candidates seems “undeniable” according to Tom Perez, head of the Democratic National Committee. He went on to say that this congressional election result was “just the beginning”.
Conor Lamb, a former army officer and federal prosecutor, demonstrated a re-connection by Democrats with lower class, middle-American voters who swung in favour of Trump in 2016. The win by Lamb has been taken as a significant eye-opener for many people in the US political circuit.
Republican leaders have, begrudgingly, been forced to admit that this result has dealt a significant blow to their chances of keeping control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
House Speaker Paul Ryan was quoted as saying this result was a “wake up call” for Republicans in a closed door meeting.
However, when speaking to reporters Paul Ryan downplayed the significance of the result, saying that Conor Lamb was a well suited candidate for the district, having run a campaign based on pro-gun, pro-life and anti-establishment principles.
Ryan said that both candidates had run “as conservatives” and that Democrats were too quick to make predictions about the mid-term elections in November.
Many people have cited this as a major blow against Donald Trump’s administration which has drawn a great deal of criticism since its beginnings.