PENNSYLVANIA 18 (R -- VACANT) | PA-18

White House Sends Reinforcement to Help Saccone

The party is growing increasingly frustrated with its nominee.

Ally Mutnick
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Ally Mutnick
March 8, 2018, 10:37 a.m.

“Fighting to stave off another special election embarrassment, the White House is strengthening its final-days offensive in western Pennsylvania.” Along with President Trump holding a rally Saturday, “the national GOP confirmed late Wednesday that Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway would visit the region on Thursday and the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., would campaign for” state Rep. Rick Saccone (R) “on Monday, the eve of the election.” (AP)

“[A]s Election Day grows closer, the national GOP is increasingly pinning the blame” for the close race on Saccone. “In interviews with nearly two dozen administration officials, senior House Republicans, and top party strategists, Saccone was nearly universally panned as a deeply underwhelming candidate who leaned excessively on the national party to execute a massive, multimillion dollar rescue effort.”

“They describe a candidate who largely ignored pleas to raise the money he needed, who blindsided the White House and the national party with his choice of a political strategist, and whose amateur-style social media feed included low-quality videos of him at a local bar and yukking it up with Santa.”

And “three senior party strategists said they’d reviewed internal polling data in recent days pointing to a narrow” lead for former federal prosecutor Conor Lamb (D), “raising alarms. And this week, the Republican National Committee conducted a data analysis finding that just 47 percent of voters in the district viewed Saccone favorably, three percentage points lower than Trump.” (Politico)

ON THE AIR. Meanwhile Patriot Majority PAC dropped another $100,000 on TV ads to oppose Saccone. (FEC)

GOTV. NextGen America announced a young voter mobilization effort ahead of the special election. The group, led by Tom Steyer, launched a $50,000 digital ad campaign and will send 70 organizers to knock doors, phone bank and send 18,000 text messages to young voters. (release)

MONEY RACE. “President Trump is raising money for … Saccone in advance of his visit Saturday to Western Pennsylvania. In a Tuesday night fundraising email, Trump called Saccone a ‘dedicated conservative leader.’ He didn’t mention … Lamb by name but referred to Saccone’s opponent as ‘another puppet for Nancy Pelosi.’” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

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