Letter to Editor: Democrat Victory In PA Election – Does It Have Meaning for the 1st District?



The special election for Congress in the 18th district of Pennsylvania drew national attention by attracting intense high-profile campaigning from President Trump, and former Vice President Biden. This Democratic victory is widely viewed as having implications beyond local politics in at least two respects: it reflects an indication of a trend toward increasing Democratic party strength and diminishing support for President Trump.

The election to fill the vacated congressional seat was won by Conor Lamb, a young, military veteran with prior legal experience, but
politically he is a novice. He ran successfully to unseat Rick Saccone, an older politician seeking a fifth congressional representative term. Saccone allied himself closely with Trump and took positions on issues in line with far-right Republicans.

The voting history of Pennsylvania’s 18th district is also of interest. Despite having a slightly higher party registration of Democrats (46%) than Republicans (42%), the last eight elections have been won by Republicans. The 18th district is oddly drawn to include a large part of Pittsburgh, along with rural territory populated by workers in factories, often producing steel. Analysis of voting records there reveals frequent swing voters cro ssing party lines.

Also worth noting is the difference in financial support for each candidate in the 18th district. Saccone received surprisingly large external funding more than $10 million from national Republican sources, while external Democratic party funding for Lamb was less than $2 million. The difference in local fundraising between the two candidates was also significant. Lamb received local donations of approximately $4 million that were four-times greater than what Saccone was able to raise.

Are there direct similarities between the Pennsylvania 18th district election and the upcoming Maryland 1st district US. House of
Representatives election? It certainly would seem so.

The most obvious similarity is the effort of the Democratic party will be making to unseat an established Republican. Although we must wait until June for primary results, it already appears that the Democratic challenger will present local voters with very clear differences from the Republican right wing and Trump/Harris policies.

As of now, it looks like the Democrats will offer a field of four candidates in the ongoing primary process. One particular standout, with attributes similar to Pennsylvania’s Conor Lamb, is third-generation Marylander, Jesse Colvin. Colvin is a young war veteran who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with distinction as an Army Ranger. Following that he pursued a successful business career which he has interrupted to return to the service of his country.

The Pennsylvania 18th district election was indeed “special” in quite some ways, and its significance appears to have meaning for Maryland. One important lesson it teaches is the need to consider our own elections as “special” also — all of them. Voting is of primary importance. Citizen participation in shaping the direction of government is the most treasured element of our democracy.

Hugh (Jock) G. Beebe

Letters to Editor

  1. Jim Franke says:

    I find it interesting that Lamb is far to the right of any of our District 1 Democratic candidates. For example, agrees with Trump’s steel tariff plan. He also apparently did not talk about Trump on the stump. Without having all the details, it looks like he is center left. Definitely not a “progressive”.

    Then consider the Texas Democratic primary. 100+% Democratic turnout versus prior primaries. Women did very well. Progressives did well and often against the push from the “establishment” Democratic Party. Most believe that there will not be any dramatic changes in Texas from the General election. And that the more progressive slate will make it more likely that Texas will remain red red red.

    So, Colvin with the obvious Party support – about 3 times more money than the other 3 combined, including Al Gore as a contributor – could be upset by one of the progressives, Allison Galbraith or Mike Pullen, like happened in many Texas districts. There was a progressive woman in Texas with $40,000 opposed by two men with nearly a million each. She is a runoff with one of the men.

    The Lamb win suggests Colvin could be the center-left solution to beating Harris and money often wins elections.

    Texas and the strong rise of women in politics and in resistance movements suggest Allison Galbraith would be more likely to beat Harris.

    So, the best scenario is Allison wins the primary and Jesse works full time with her raising money.

    • Deirdre LaMotte says:

      I feel the only candidate that can beat Harris in our diverse district is Jesse Colvin. He has the smarts and the military background
      to appeal to many types of voters. Best of all, everyone who meets him says “wow!”

  2. David Lloyd says:

    It is certainly doable!

  3. Richard Levy says:

    Bipartisanship sounds nice until we realize said bipartisanship requires reaching a deal with a Republican party lacking the moral integrity to oppose or even practice oversight on the Oval Office criminal conspiracy.

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