EXCLUSIVE: State of the Race for Pennsylvania’s 17th District
Last month, we reported on arguably the best ad of the 2020 election cycle, from Republican candidate Sean Parnell, who is running against Democrat Rep. Conor Lamb for Pennsylvania’s 17th district.
PA17 is a district that is one of the most likely to flip red this coming November. Lamb is one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the House, since PA17 is a district that Trump won in 2016, and Senator Pat Toomey won in his reelection by an even higher margin that year. Lamb was able to win in a special election in 2018 due to his positioning himself as a more moderate pro-life, pro-Second Amendment Democrat who wanted to work with the President, but shed that façade by voting with Nancy Pelosi 93% of the time and the “Squad” 90% of the time, including to impeach Trump. In other words, he’s a Leftist like the rest of them.
The district, according to Parnell’s campaign, is a mix of white collar Pittsburgh suburbs in the North and South Hills of Allegheny County, and blue collar manufacturing, oil, and gas jobs in Beaver County and along the Ohio River. Lamb originally won when it was the 18th district, but the state’s district lines were redrawn in 2018 by the Court system. However, Trump still would have won the district by 2.5 points had it existed in its current form in 2016.
Last year, President Trump delivered a speech in Pittsburgh urging Parnell to jump into the race to challenge Lamb. Parnell won the nomination for the seat on June 2nd and achieved “Young Gun” status with the NRCC. Vice President Mike Pence has already campaigned with Parnell twice in the district, while both Pence and Trump have frequently posted support for Parnell on social media and mentioning him in speeches.
In terms of fundraising, according to campaign manager Andrew Brey, in the second quarter of 2020, Parnell outraised Lamb by over $273,000 ($717,000 to $444,000). Parnell continues to tighten the cash on hand gap by $273,000 (the same margin he outraised him by), netting $550,000 to Lamb’s $275,000. Of the 31 Democrat incumbent defending districts that President Trump won in 2016, Lamb finished Q2 ranked 29 of 31 in cash on hand.
Parnell, a highly decorated Captain from the Army’s elite 10th Mountain Division and a NYT Best-Selling author, is well-positioned to win the seat, for the reason that his resume offsets every quality Lamb used to originally get elected:
- Lamb may have been a lawyer in the Marine Corps, but Parnell is an Army combat veteran with a Purple Heart.
- Lamb is an articulate speaker; Parnell is a dynamic & highly sought-after public speaker.
- Lamb ran as a moderate who would support Trump (but, as noted above, voted to impeach him), but Parnell scored Trump’s official endorsement in December.
Sean is a great patriot and will do a fantastic job. Has my total and complete endorsement! https://t.co/GxLuWGjKYX
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2019
Yes he will, Mr. President. Let’s flip this seat red in November!