Former federal prosecutor Conor Lamb (D) beat state Rep. Rick Saccone, 48 percent to 45 percent, in a new Emerson College survey—though the results are in the margin of error. The survey (March 1-3; 474 LVs; +/- 4.8%) was conducted via IVR and online. This is the first public poll to show Lamb leading the March 13 special election to replace former Rep. Tim Murphy (R). (release)
DEBATE TIME. In their last debate, Lamb and Saccone “agreed that Pennsylvania steelworkers need protection from foreign imports. But that was about as far as the consensus between the two congressional candidates extended during a Saturday night debate. … The night’s sharpest point of contention, however, involved the negative TV ads that are blanketing the airwaves.” Lamb “characterized the attacks on him as ‘garbage. … It’s like a comic-book version of a campaign. People are laughing at you, Rick.’ But Mr. Saccone noted, correctly, that his own campaign ‘put only positive ads out,’ all introductory spots about himself. By contrast, he said, Mr. Lamb’s “ads are all negative against me.’” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
COMING UP. President Trump will hold a second campaign rally for state Rep. Rick Saccone on Saturday March 10 in Moon Township at 7 p.m. That’s three days before the March 13 special election. (release) Meanwhile former Vice President Joe Biden is set to rally with Lamb on Tuesday.
MONEY MATTERS. “For Republicans, it’s all hands on deck to help Rick Saccone win a special election for a U.S. House seat that is deep in Trump country. GOP-affiliated groups—including the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm; the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan; the Republican National Committee; and two pro-Trump PACs, 45Committee and America First Action—have poured about $9.1 million into the Pittsburgh-area race, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.” (Wall Street Journal)
ON THE AIR. Lamb is up with a new 30-second spot, highlighting his fresh perspective and commitment to union rights, social security and Medicaid.
Meanwhile, VoteVets Action Fund is up with an ad hitting Saccone for taking more than $400,000 in perks while serving in Harrisburg “all at taxpayers’ expense.” The spot also touts Lamb’s military service and commitment to ending the opioid epidemic, while a narrator urges voters to “send in the Marine.” As of last week, VoteVets Action Fund has booked more than $350,000 in air time, according to data obtained by National Journal. (Hotline reporting)