News · Press Release


Realities of the Republican District

  • Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District has reliably voted Republican.
    • President Trump won PA-18 by 20 points. Romney won by 17 points.
  • There are 114 GOP-held seats more competitive than PA-18, based on Cook PVI.  
    • The Current Cook Partisan Voter Index (PVI) for PA-18 is R+11.
  • Republicans spent more than $10 million to defend a seat that was safe Republican and will not exist after November 2018.

DCCC $1 Million Investment

  • The DCCC invested over $1 million in PA-18, starting in December 2017.
  • The DCCC investment included:
    • A strategically timed burst of TV advertisement, early in the campaign, while the Lamb campaign filled its coffers.
    • A sustained and early field investment, with final GOTV push that hired local field staff, organized 1,130 volunteers, completed over 3,000 canvass shifts and had over 70,000 conversations with voters.
    • A heavy-volume digital ad plan, including a GOTV burst in the final weeks. This is largest digital GOTV operation that the DCCC has ever ran.
      • The DCCC utilized Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Display, Spotify, Pandora and more, and more.
    • An infusion into the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
    • We used cutting-edge analytics to identify and communicate with voters who were open to Connor Lamb’s unique biography  and message.
  • The DCCC invested based on it’s incredibly accurate polling and data.
    • In the final weeks, the DCCC knew that the PA-18 race was a toss-up, and predicted a narrow Lamb upset.
    • In fact, the DCCC’s final internal poll had Lamb earning 49.8% to Saccone’s 48.48%, which very closely mirrors the final results.

The Takeaways

  1. Republicans just lost a Trump +20 district, and the majority of targeted Republicans should seriously question their reelection prospects.
    • Stay tuned for more Republican retirements in districts more competitive than PA-18. (Has anyone heard from Rep. Ryan Costello?)
    • The GOP rate of investment in PA-18 is unsustainable across even a portion of the more competitive battlefield.
  2. Conor Lamb’s record of service to his country and community as a veteran and prosecutor made him a strong, resilient candidate, and the Republican partisan attacks failed to stick.  He fit the district.
  • The Republicans’ $10 million-worth of attacks based primarily on taxes and Leader Pelosi were not believable or relevant to voters – even in a district this Republican.
  • Lamb raised over $3.5 million since January – mainly through energized small dollar donors – and had the resources to introduce himself and communicate his positive economic message.
  1. There are dozens of Democratic candidates like Conor Lamb – with deep records of service that take them outside the partisan frame.
    • There are more than 60 candidates running for Congress in our targeted battlefield who are veterans, national security experts, CIA officers, job-creators and trusted elected leaders in their communities.
  1. Saccone’s profile should have been enough to carry him in this Republican district.
    • Saccone is a veteran and elected official with previous double-digit win margins, and after being handpicked by the GOP, his campaign was fueled by an unprecedented resource advantage from GOP allies.
    • The GOP’s failure is not explained by the quality of Saccone as a candidate or his campaign’s.
  2. Republicans called the tax bill their silver bullet — and then abandoned it.
    • The Republicans declared that their tax bill would preserve their majority in the House, but when put to the test in PA-18, it backfired. This was evident when the Republican groups completely abandoned running television ads on taxes.
    • Republicans do not have a single popular legislative accomplishment to tout.
  1. DCCC’s investments – mostly behind the scenes –provided a major boost to the Lamb campaign and were essential in such a Republican district.
    • The DCCC knew that Lamb would get a better rate on television than GOP outside group, and the DCCC’s strategic $1 million investment, focused on field and digital, allowed him to spend more of his own money on television – at the lower candidate cost per point.
    • On the flipside, Rick Saccone’s campaign was bankrolled by Washington SuperPACs that ran a very negative campaign– and voters knew it.


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