Republican Sen. John Kennedy said Wednesday "we got our a** kicked" in Tuesday's special congressional election in Pennsylvania in a district where President Donald Trump won handily in 2016.
"It's what the political prognosticators called a good ol' fashioned a**-kicking," the first-term Louisiana legislator told Manu Raju on CNN:
Democrat Conor Lamb claimed victory early Wednesday over Republican Rick Saccone, though many absentee ballots remained to be counted Wednesday in the race to fill the seat vacated last year by GOP Rep. Tim Murphy over an extramarital scandal.
Unofficial results Wednesday morning showed Lamb's lead at 641 votes — out of more than 224,000 votes cast.
Election officials said about 200 absentee votes and an unknown number of provisional ballots were still to be counted.
The four counties in the western Pennsylvania district have seven days to count provisional ballots.
Either candidate's supporters can ask for a recount, pending certain requirements.
Saccone, 60, a state House legislator and Air Force veteran, refused to concede — telling supporters late Tuesday: "We're going to fight all the way to the end."
"We're still fighting the fight," he said at his campaign headquarters in McKeesport, Pa., near Pittsburgh. "It's not over.
"I never give up. We're not giving up."
In 2016, President Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the district by 19 points, though Murphy had never faced a serious challenge from the Democrats in eight elections.
The race was seen as a referendum on the president, as outside groups spent more than $10 million on Saccone, who only raised $900,000 in direct contributions.
Lamb, 33, a former federal prosecutor and Marine, outraised his opponent by $3.8 million.
Trump campaigned for Saccone on Saturday, telling supporters to turn out and vote because "we have to defeat Nancy Pelosi" and the Democrats.
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