In a what started as a tight race, state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler pulled ahead and stayed in the lead to win the Republican primary for the new 14th U.S. Congressional District.
With nearly 85 percent of districts reporting, Reschenthaler had 55.62 percent of the vote to Rick Saccone’s 44.38 percent, per unofficial results.
Around 10:30 p.m., Saccone took the podium to tell supporters at Jacktown Ride and Hunt Club in Irwin that the outcome was not what he wanted, and that he’d called Reschenthaler and wished him well.
Reschenthaler will likely face former automotive executive Bibiana Boerio in November, who led the four-way Democratic primary with nearly half of the vote.
Tuesday’s primary was the first election in the new district, which includes all of Washington, Greene and Fayette counties and half of Westmoreland County.
The victory marks redemption for Reschenthaler, 35, who was passed over by Republicans when selecting a candidate to run in the March special election to replace U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy in the former 18th Congressional District.
Instead, Saccone, 60, lost a close race against Conor Lamb in that special election despite $11 million in campaign backing from national Republican PACs and repeated stumping trips from President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other members of the Trump family.
Before the race was even over, Republicans braced for defeat and blamed Saccone for running a lackluster campaign. Saccone told supporters Tuesday night that he “will keep fighting for the Trump agenda, that won’t change.”
Reschenthaler of Jefferson Hills billed himself as a new voice and called Saccone an embarrassment for a defeat in a district that Trump won by 20 points.
This time around, Reschenthaler, a first-term lawmaker and former magisterial district judge, was backed by prominent Republicans including U.S. Senator Pat Toomey and Murphy, whose campaign fund gave $200,000 to Conservatives for PA, a super PAC backing Reschenthaler.
Saccone has been a state rep since 2010 and focused on his experience in Harrisburg throughout the campaign. Reschenthaler is a former navy prosecutor and Saccone is Air Force veteran. The two sparred over military histories, including Saccone’s time in North Korea.
14th District Democrats today picked between four candidates: Boerio, psychologist Adam Sedlock, emergency physician Bob Soloman, and neuroscience researcher Tom Prigg. Boerio’s lead was followed by, Soloman with nearly 21 percent of the vote, Prigg with 16 percent, and Sedlock at 15 percent, per unofficial results with nearly 85 percent of districts reporting.
U.S. Congressional District 17
After multiple Democrats declared they were running against current U.S. Rep Keith Rothfus in the former 12th District, redistricting moved them to the new 17th District where new Congress Member Conor Lamb was also running.
Other candidates dropped out, leaving Lamb uncontested in the Democratic Primary. He will face Rothfus, who also ran unopposed in the GOP primary, in November.
U.S. Congressional District 18
With 85 percent of districts reporting, U.S. Rep Mike Doyle led the Democratic primary with nearly 76 percent of the vote over Janis Brooks, a pastor from North Versailles. This was her fourth time challenging him.
No Republicans ran in the new 18th District, which includes Pittsburgh.