PA race tighter-than-tight; Dem claims win, GOP hangs in

MT. LEBANON, Pa. (AP) — A razor’s edge separated Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone early Wednesday in their closely watched special election in Pennsylvania, where a surprisingly strong bid by first-time candidate Lamb severely tested Donald Trump’s sway in a GOP stronghold.

Lamb claimed victory before exuberant supporters early Wednesday as the number of votes still to be counted dwindled in a contest that has drawn national attention as a bellwether for the midterm elections in November when the Republican Party’s House and Senate majorities are at risk.

The Marine veteran told his crowd that voters had directed him to “do your job” in Washington. “Mission accepted,” he declared. Earlier, Saccone told his own supporters, “It’s not over yet, we’re going to fight all the way, all the way to the end, we’ll never give up.”

Lamb told CNN Wednesday he hadn’t yet heard from Saccone, but added, “I congratulate him on fighting hard the whole way.”

Regardless of the outcome — and a recount was possible — Lamb’s showing in a district Trump won by 20 points in the presidential race was sure to stoke anxiety among Republicans nationwide and renewed enthusiasm among Democrats.

Wednesday morning, Lamb’s lead stood at 641 votes — out of more than 224,000 votes cast, according to unofficial results. Election officials said there are about 200 absentee votes and an unknown number of provisional ballots still to be counted.

The four counties in the western Pennsylvania district have seven days to count provisional ballots.

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