Democrats chose former assistant U.S. Attorney Conor Lamb (D) as their nominee for the special election to replace former Rep. Tim Murphy (R). Lamb, the nephew of the Pittsburgh city controller and grandson of a former state Senate Democratic leader, beat out six other Democrats at a nominating convention Sunday after the second ballot. Lamb will face state Rep. Rick Saccone (R) in the March 13 contest. Both must still win their respective primaries in May to vie for a full term in November. Westmoreland County Commissioner Gina Cerilli (D), who took second place at the convention, didn’t rule out running again in the May primary but voiced support for Lamb in the March special. Former Veterans Affairs official Pam Iovino (D), the third-place finisher, said she would not primary a Democratic incumbent.
The district, located in the southwestern corner of the state, leans heavily Republican but Democrats are emboldened by a voter-registration advantage of about 70,000. In an interview after winning the nomination, Lamb said it was too soon and “presumptuous” to answer questions about his support for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to whom he will likely be linked. (Hotline reporting)