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What does this special election win in Pennsylvania mean?

Exciting times! Conor Lamb won an upset victory in special house election in southwestern Pennsylvania. Lamb is a Democrat and his victory is an astounding win for a district that is so Trumpy it's actually, literally, factually unfair. Unfair like PA 18 is so heavily gerrymandered in the GOP's favor that the courts have literally ordered for it to be abolished in the next cycle. The loser, Rick Saccone, may still contest the outcome but Lamb's about 600 vote win seems set in stone as it is greater than the hundreds of military and overseas ballots left to count.

Awesome, but it's such a minor win, right?

Well the Republicans are low key freaking out. They worked for months to win this race for the lackluster fundraiser Saccone buy pouring $10 million in outside money into the district, deploying their best messaging, and even sending Trump himself to campaign (he won there by 20 points in 2016). Of course the Trump campaigning honor is dubious as best. Saccone is not the first candidate to lose after receiving Trump's support (he's backed Luther Strange, Roy Moore and Virginia's Ed Gillespie with no success), but this might signal to Republicans that Trump could actually be harmful to their midterm dreams.

Interesting. So is that the only reason Lamb won?

Nope. Lamb presented himself as a independent-minded candidate that played down his connections to the national Democratic party. He did support traditional Democratic themes like union rights and economic equality, but took a more conservative position on guns in a district that's heavily armed. Lamb actually said he welcomed support from Trump voters and was more critical of Paul Ryan than Trump himself. His strategy can be used as a template for more moderate Democrats running races in conservative-leaning states. It's probably not the right model for other areas. Still, his win has the Republicans shaking in their boots and Democrats excited. 20 points is a lot to win back!

What's our biggest takeaway here?

Your vote matters. 627 votes is an incredibly small win given the almost 230,000 ballots that were cast in this election. If a couple hundred people who were going to vote for Lamb decided that their vote didn't really matter, you would be reading a very different newsletter.

Take a couple minutes to check if you're registered to vote. If you are, great! If not, JUST DO IT.