Republicans are throwing millions of dollars in a multi-faceted 11th-hour effort to prop up a weak candidate and salvage victory in a dead-red Pennsylvania district ahead of Tuesday's special election, Politico reports.
The weekend push to secure victory for Rick Saccone involved:
- A visit from President Donald Trump.
- Republican National Committee deployed staffers to knock on doors.
- The Koch brothers' network spending six figures on a mail and ground game effort.
Further, last week a GOP super PAC ran ads painting Saccone's Democratic opponent as conservative on gun rights.
Republicans spent $8 million on TV ads over the weekend, outspending Conor Lamb's campaign 2-to-1 with a campaign visit from Donald Trump Jr. slated for Monday, Politico reports.
The race is still considered a "toss-up" by RealClearPolitics.
"The president comes in for his second visit, the vice president has been here, Ivanka's been here, cabinet secretaries have been here, 10 kitchen sinks has been thrown here, $15 million has been spent here, and that Marine (Lamb) is still standing," Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle told Politico.
It's an all-out frontal assault by Republicans in a district that Trump carried by 20 points in 2016.
However, it's a race Republicans can least afford to lose; squandering a dead-red congressional race would make the headwinds all the stiffer ahead of November's midterms.
Further, a loss becomes a referendum on Trump, like it or not.
"If Rick Saccone somehow loses on Tuesday, regardless of whether the president made the trip on Saturday or not, the media will blame the president," David Urban, who oversaw Trump's 2016 campaign in Pennsylvania, told Politico.
"It reminds me of, 'Heads I lose, tails you win.'"
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