I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the special election in PA-18. It’s a very red district, R +11 Cook PVI. If there’s a huge Democratic wave in 2018 and the Dems in 40 seats, how many R +11 seats would I expect the Dems to win? Maybe one or two (Dems currently hold one R +12 seat and nothing else beyond a R +5). But this race is a little more interesting than I thought. Here’s a couple things:
(1) Conor Lamb, the Democratic candidate, has deep roots in the area and seems to be a very good candidate.
(2) There are actually more Democrats in the district than Republicans.
(3) The previous Republican representative, whose resignation set up this election, resigned because he offered to pay for his mistress to have an abortion, despite being very “pro-life”, and this could cause a bit of a backlash.
In House and Senate specials so far, Dems are running about 8 points above the Cook PVI, and about the same number ahead in the average of all 70 special elections (including state legislature elections). This is an absurdly high number. It would translate into a 16 point win in November, which is completely without precedent in modern political history, and a pick-up of something like 80 seats. (I don’t think this will happen.)
So PA-18 may be winnable. Also, Republicans are pouring lots of money into the district and Lamb is not asking for outside groups to help him because he wants to emphasize the local nature of his campaign. I think money here is well spent. I raised our goal here to 5K.