In tight House race, Republican leans on Trump and his base

President Trump rallies Pennsylvania Republicans before hotly contested special House election

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Over the course of the special election in the Pennsylvania 18 Congressional District, which is set for this Tuesday, the Republican Party has sent a lot of big names to the district to help out their candidate Rick Saccone.

MOON TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIAUS President Donald Trump promoted his steel and aluminium tariffs and tossed out an idea to have drug dealers face the death penalty, addressing a raucous rally on Saturday for a Republican congressional candidate in a tight race.

Polls show a close race between Saccone and the Democrat, former federal prosecutor Conor Lamb, in a district that President Donald Trump won by almost 20 percentage points in 2016's presidential election. "I don't know if this country's ready for it, but I think, Rick, I think it's a discussion that we have to start thinking about", Trump said. Neither Lamb nor Saccone has made the ongoing Russian Federation investigation bedeviling Trump part of his pitch, but the paper insisted the country must not "dive into so great a distraction".

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Rick Saccone is the Republican candidate in Pennsylvania's special congressional election. Very strong on experience and what our Country needs. Trump campaigned for Saccone in Pennsylvania on Saturday night. The race also comes at a pivotal moment for Trump's brand of populist protectionism, as he clamors for a trade war built around strict tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Saccone emphasizes that he's a staunch opponent of abortion rights. Saccone is neck-and-neck in the polls with Lamb, who is himself something of an anomaly: an Ivy League boy who served with the Marines overseas; a Democrat who is also pro-gun and willing to admit his personal (though not necessarily political) opposition to abortion. "He's good with the Second Amendment". "I do not believe, as (Republican House Speaker) Paul Ryan does, that these are entitlements or another form of welfare". In 2014 and 2016, Murphy didn't even face a Democratic challenger. (The move is widely unpopular among members of his own party.) The working-class district is home to roughly 17,000 voters who are either steelworkers or their relatives, the sorts of folks Trump pledged to prioritize during his presidential campaign. Murphy resigned in October amid a sex scandal.

"This is a national security issue", Saccone said.

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Trump held that opinion of Saccone before leaving for the rally, and I've not been able to establish whether his time on the ground with the candidate changed his mind.

Trump also praised the economy, citing the Friday jobs report as evidence of the success of the Republican tax plan.

But while both sides have decided that the race is worth digging deep into their pocketbooks, the fact remains that, unlike Virginia and part of Georgia where candidates also went head to head a year ago, this area in Pennsylvania voted solidly and overwhelmingly Republican in 2016. "He's going to vote the party line".

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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's conservative editorial board this weekend complimented Lamb as "an impressive young man", but warned that he could become part of a Democratic majority that would try to impeach Trump. "I'm a supporter of the death penalty, but only when in those type of instance where we absolutely are 100 percent certain that the person is 100 percent guilty".

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