The Trickle Down is Salute Magazine‘s weekly column by Political Writer Amanda Godula. The Trickle Down is a weekly look into what’s need-to-know, fresh takes on trends, and the inevitable controversies from the political arena. Let’s dig in and see what’s happening this week.
Democrat Conor Lamb is nominated to run for Tim Murphy’s vacant seat.
Veteran. Federal prosecutor. Mt. Lebanon, PA resident. Pennsylvania Democrat? That’s PA’s new Democratic candidate for the 18th District, Conor Lamb. And he’s a serious challenger for Tim Murphy’s open seat, meaning a good battle is coming in March 2018.
“He’s a rising star in the party,” said Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle of Lamb. “I think people are ready for some change.”
Doyle outlined a game plan where Democrats seemed to be on-board. It’s how Lamb could be a particularly attractive candidate to Republicans and Independents in suburbs – select a Democratic candidate that doesn’t succumb to Trumpism and has a great background that attract Republican voters.
“Somebody with his background as a federal prosecutor and a Marine, it’s a different kind of person than you’d normally see on the Democratic side. The Republicans would love to have Conor Lamb,” said Vice Chair of the Westmoreland County Democratic Committee Biff Rendar.
The seat is vacant after Republican Tim Murphy resigned for a scandalous extramarital affair. Democrat Governor Tom Wolf slated a special election for March 13. Republicans chose Rick Saccone, a Trumpian candidate.
This special election is representative of the debate happening in America – are you pro-Trump agenda or other (and, sometimes meaning Democrat)?
Democrats choosing Lamb was not only genius, but a strategic decision Dems have been slow to adopt.
Dems didn’t combat the far-right candidate with far-left; they chose a moderate. They are making Pennsylvanians face that choice head-on: Are you pro-Trump agenda or other?
The traditional liberal party has its eyes wide-open with expectations of a moderate, but with the one expectation: winning.
“[I expect] him to be moderate, the ability to flip moderate Republicans to vote for him versus a far-right candidate, somebody that could potentially bring out millennials that haven’t voted very often, maybe some excitement to the party, especially for younger voters,“ said Democratic Committee Member Chase Rosenbayger.
Lamb has a tough race ahead. PA 18 has been Republican since 2002, when Mike Doyle was redistricted to PA 14, but was red before Doyle’s terms.
“This is a really, really tough district,” said Doyle. “Energy’s on our side this time. It was on their side last election. This is the midterm report card on Donald Trump. And he’s not going to like his grades when it’s over.”
The reoccurring theme throughout is that every race is a battle against Donald Trump. Local elections are no exception. The Municipality of Murrysville, which is near parts of the 18th, ran Republicans on the slogan, “Keep Murrysville Great” and a Trump-Pence banner heading their website.
The Lamb v. Saccone match is only a few months away, but is seemingly more important than just the 18th Congressional District in PA – it represents a whole wave to combat Trumpism. Lamb has been thrust into a national ambassador role, where his outcome reflects the country’s agenda.
“There will be no doubt who represents the families of this district,” Lamb said after securing the vote, rallying Democrats to his side. “It’s going to be us.”