March 18, 2018

Trump stumps for Republican Saccone in tight PA race

13 March 2018, 12:25 | Opal Carroll

GOP Candidate Struggling In Trump Country, So He'll Get A Presidential Boost

President Trump to Rally in Pennsylvania's 18th District

Vice President Mike Pence, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and Ivanka Trump also campaigned for Saccone last month.

Mr Trump was at the campaign to inject some last-minute political capital behind Republican Rick Saccone, whose race against Democrat Conor Lamb could be a harbinger of the Republican Party's fate in the midterms. The democrats are trying to not do so.

"He's going to vote the party line". The 18th is the heart of steel country where almost everyone knows someone who worked in the industry. "I might like him".

Utah's 3rd district, vacated by Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who now works at Fox News, was won by Republican Rep. John Curtis in November. Doug Jones' (D-AL) shocking win late a year ago, and said he'd rarely seen Democratic enthusiasm that strong for a down-ticket race - until Lamb came along. The comments came as part of Trump's larger assertion that "toughness" is the only way to end America's drug and opioid crisis.

Mr Trump also said 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports will boost Pennsylvania's economy. The president repeatedly reminisced about his election, when Pennsylvania helped put him over the top after decades of landing in the Democrats' column.

He rehashed his frequent criticism of so-called sanctuary cities and called on Congress to deny federal funding to localities that do not provide the level of cooperation sought by the Justice Department and agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

On North Korea, Trump used his familiar refrain of, "Let's see what happens", just days after it was announced that he intends to meet directly with Kim Jong Un in the hopes of achieving the permanent denuclearization of the rogue regime. And he called Meet The Press anchor Chuck Todd "sleepy eyes" and referred to Todd as "sleeping" before piling on a vulgar insult to refer to the seasoned D.C. journalist.

But while both sides have decided that the race is worth digging deep into their pocketbooks, the fact remains that, unlike Virginia and part of Georgia where candidates also went head to head past year, this area in Pennsylvania voted solidly and overwhelmingly Republican in 2016. Together they have 80,000 union members in the 18th District, which translates to that many potential voters. Critics say the tariffs could trigger retaliatory trade measures and damage the United States economy. But he said tariffs "are my baby" and that Democrats oppose them. Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, made a $130,000 payment to Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election, apparently to keep her quiet, though Cohen denies Trump was involved in negotiating that deal. National GOP forces could exceed $10 million in spending on the race, and Saturday was the president's second recent visit to the area.

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Murphy, an eight-term congressman who had union support, never had a close election and had no Democratic challenger in his last two elections.

So the president went to Pennsylvania to raise support for the Republican candidate, Rick Saccone.

Trump gave a nod to those dynamics, noting talk of Lamb as a handsome candidate.

He said if turnout was high that would "absolutely" be good for Saccone.

For his part, Saccone was thrilled to have the president's help.

The rally at an airport hangar in the Pittsburgh suburbs took Mr Trump back to familiar political terrain and a base that carried him to a surprise victory in 2016.

Trump also has endorsed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's approach to the issue; Duterte's "drug war" has led to the deaths of thousands of people by extrajudicial police killings.

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