Midnight special

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.

Goal Thermometer






17 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    Shine your light on me!

    This could be a case where the candidates matter. Plus from what I understand the Republican is a douche.

  2. 2
    Doug! says:

    @Yutsano:

    Yeah, I think maybe there’s a real chance here.

  3. 3
    mike in dc says:

    1936, 1964, these are aspirational goals to strive towards. 1936 is the largest majority of the 435 seat era. 1964 the largest since then.

  4. 4
    Roger Moore says:

    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.

    It’s true that a pickup that big would be unprecedented in modern history, but a president and governing party as bad as the current Republicans are also unprecedented. We need to go 1932 on their asses.

  5. 5
    Yarrow says:

    John forgot all about us!

    I forgot to re-register the balloon juice domain, but I just did, so it should work in a little bit, so don't freak out on me.— Serenity Now! (@Johngcole) January 18, 2018

  6. 6
    hitchhiker says:

    I still can’t believe we didn’t pick up a ton of seats in 2016 just on the strength of the Complete Insanity of Donald Trump at the top of their ticket — shows you how badly I overestimated the decency and goodness of my fellow citizens.

    Seems like 11/6/18 will be the day we find out if we still have a republic. All bets are off, but I feel my optimism rising on the strength of the D intensity in all the 2017 elections. If that starts to fade, I’m going to have to stop reading the news altogether.

  7. 7
    Fair Economist says:

    @Roger Moore:

    It’s true that a pickup that big would be unprecedented in modern history, but a president and governing party as bad as the current Republicans are also unprecedented.

    This.

  8. 8
    Roger Moore says:

    @hitchhiker:

    I still can’t believe we didn’t pick up a ton of seats in 2016 just on the strength of the Complete Insanity of Donald Trump at the top of their ticket — shows you how badly I overestimated the decency and goodness of my fellow citizens.

    That or the power of extreme gerrymandering. The Democrats won the popular vote by enough they should have had a decent majority in the House, but the Republicans gerrymandered the hell out of every state they could after the 2010 census. It makes a huge difference.

  9. 9
    Fair Economist says:

    @Roger Moore: Are you trying to make me say “this” again?

  10. 10
    Fair Economist says:

    D+8 would actually be a BIGGER win than we got in 1964 but would result in something like 50 fewer seats – again reflecting the intensity of Republican gerrymandering. It really is a profound threat to democracy.

  11. 11
    Arclite says:

    Republicans: Pro-Life, until they have to pay for the kid.

  12. 12
    Zinsky says:

    @Roger Moore: I am sending Lamb some money. Every liberal with some extra money needs to spend liberally and strategically this Fall to help progressives nation-wide and build a House majority to impeach the vile, pornstar-pokin’ pervert in the White House!

  13. 13
    Armadillo says:

    Rejecting outside money to emphasize the local nature of his campaign sounds like some artisanally crafted unilateral disarmnament to me. I already gave money to the man, but this is . . . not encouraging news.

  14. 14
    Central Planning says:

    @hitchhiker:

    If that starts to fade, I’m going to have to stop reading the news altogether.

    “If that starts to fade, I’m going to have to stop reading the news”

    I don’t see how, between now and March 3, anything is going to significantly change to make the republican candidate more appealing.

  15. 15
    Leem says:

    @Arclite: One of our employees is an evangelical pro-life activist. He asked for leave to attend the march for life this weekend in DC. I casually asked if he was adopting any children to help with the cause and got a very confused look. Pro-birth, then the kid isn’t their concern.

  16. 16
    Ol'Froth says:

    The republican in PA-18 is Rick Saccone, who would be the worst member of the PA house were it not for the presence of Daryl Metcalfe. Trump is in town today to raise money for Saccone, maybe we can shoot Conner Lamb a few bucks today?

  17. 17
    DougJ says:

    @Ol’Froth:

    I’m on it

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