Democrat outraises Republican in final stretch of Pa. special election
Democrat Conor Lamb holds a significant financial advantage over Republican Rick Saccone heading into the final stretch of the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District.
According to FEC filings posted Thursday, Lamb dramatically outraised Saccone from January 1 through February 21, the final complete filing period before the special election, which is set for March 13. Lamb took in around $3.3 million during this period, compared to about $700,000 for Saccone.
During the same period, Lamb’s campaign spent $2.9 million while Saccone’s campaign spent a little over $600,000. And with 11 days to go in the race, Lamb’s campaign has over $800,000 in cash on hand, to Saccone’s $300,000.
Pennsylvania’s 18th District is holding a special election because of Republican Rep. Tim Murphy’s resignation following a sexual harassment scandal last October. And despite the fact that President Donald Trump won the district by 20 points in 2016, Democrats view the seat as winnable and worth contesting — a Monmouth University poll in mid-February had Saccone up just 3 points over Lamb, 49% to 46%, and the race presents an opportunity for Democrats to test messaging in a Trump-friendly district ahead of the 2018 midterms.
Despite the Lamb campaign’s fundraising advantage, outside spending has helped make up the gap and more for Saccone. In total, Lamb has benefited from just over $1 million in outside spending since January 1, while over $7 million has poured in to lift Saccone.
Helping Saccone: $1 million from the Republican National Committee; $2.9 million from the National Republican Congressional Committee; over $3 million from the Paul Ryan-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund; and just over $1 million from the America First Action super PAC, which was formed to promote the Trump administration agenda.
Meanwhile, Lamb has been buttressed by just over $300,000 from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. End Citizens United PAC and Patriot Majority PAC have each committed around $250,000 to the race.
Lamb’s fundraising strength is attributable in large part to small-dollar donations, and in a Tuesday press release touting his fundraising numbers, Lamb credited “grassroots support” for his campaign’s success and said the average donation was $33.
Saccone, meanwhile, dismissed Lamb’s fundraising prowess in comments to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published on Friday. “I’ve always raised the amount of money I need,” he said.
This story has been updated with an accounting of outside spending in the race.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that End Citizens United PAC is a political action committee, not a super PAC as original identified.