The Procrastinator’s Guide to Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District special election

What do you get when you cross an arch-conservative, a centrist Democrat and a Libertarian? This election.

From left to right: Lamb, Miller and Saccone.

From left to right: Lamb, Miller and Saccone.


The special election for Tim Murphy’s former 18th Congressional District seat remains hard to ignore.

With less than a week left before the polls open there, the race remains the subject of endless speculation and political prognostication as a valued — if not entirely reliable — harbinger of things to come. The race has produced a whirlwind of TV ads, drawn millions of dollars in investments in a matter of weeks and captured the attention of Capitol Hill.

But while the special election ritual is familiar by now, and while much of the media and party structures focus on the implications of the race for the midterm elections and Trump presidency, most voters have a narrower focus — a decision between three candidates.

There’s Conor Lamb, the Democratic nominee, former federal prosecutor, Marine Corps veteran and member of a politically prominent Pittsburgh family.

There’s also Rick Saccone, an Air Force veteran, arch-conservative Republican state representative and self-proclaimed precursor to President Trump.

And finally, there’s Drew Miller, a Pittsburgh attorney, former legal counsel to the Majority Whip of the Pennsylvania Senate and the Libertarian nominee for the 18th District seat.

The latest polling as of Wednesday had Lamb and Saccone neck-and-neck, and the race is definitely closer than Republicans want it to be so late in the game and in such a reliably red district.

Still, if you’re a resident of the 18th — and you can confirm that and find your polling place here — you may be focused less on the broader significance of the race and more on choosing your next U.S. representative: the person who will vote on your behalf in Congress and represent you at the federal level, at least until Pennsylvania gets a new congressional map.

With that in mind, we compiled the following breakdown of the candidates and their primary positions ahead of the polls opening at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Lamb speech

Conor Lamb, Democrat

Suggested 160-character (or less) Twitter bio

A different kind of Democrat. Pro-guns. Anti-Pelosi. A law-and-order liberal. Possible Joe Biden love child. From Mount Lebo. Catholic. “Sort of pro-life.”