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Trump ups the ante in Pennsylvania 18 staking a lot on his man winning tomorrow’s special election

March 12th, 2018

A Republican hold would be big boost to the President

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, UK time, I expect to be glued to CNN coverage of the results in the Pennsylvania 18th District special election. This is proving to be a massive battle and the outcome looks set to frame the narrative of how the November midterms are seen.

The President is very aware of this and at the weekend made another highly publicised big visit to the district with a packed rally.

What makes this election, which is on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, particularly interesting is that this is natural Trump territory and at WH2016 the President won there by a margin of 20%. A win by the Democrats would be a sensation. It also might encourage wavering Republican congressman in similar areas not to fight in the November elections.

The Democratic aim of taking the House will be a whole lot easier if they are facing fewer incumbents in key targets. A GOP hold tomorrow could have the opposite effect.

This is from James Arkin of EealCRear Politics

..“The election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District has become a flash point for both parties eight months before this year’s midterms. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the district by nearly 20 points, but the Democratic candidate is running neck and neck with state Rep. Rick Saccone in the final days of the campaign, a potential sign of both Democratic enthusiasm and apathy among GOP voters.

Trump’s visit was an attempt to reverse those trends and help put Saccone over the top in a district that many Republicans concede should not be so competitive. But it was carries risk for Trump, who could face questions about his ability to generate support for down-ballot candidates if Saccone loses despite campaigning alongside the president…

..Trump did everything he could to tie himself to Saccone on Saturday night. He invited him on stage at the end of the rally, calling him a “good person” and a “very hard worker.” Trump didn’t downplay the significance of the race, saying the whole world was watching, but added that he didn’t want to put pressure on the candidate..”

Clearly Trump was there to motivate his supporters to turnout tomorrow. It might be that it encourages more marginal anti-Trump voters as well.

This hasn’t set off much UK betting interest and, as I write, the Republican is the odds on favourite on Betfair at about 60% with the Democratic contender on 40%. Given the polling it looks like a 50-50 chance so the longest price option is the value bet.

Mike Smithson