The Ocasio-Cortez – Crowley upset may mean nothing, but it could mean everything. The Democrats hope for a big blue wave. The GOPers fear a bloody red massacre.
Does the NY race upset portend difficulty in Pennsylvania, for example? In the 17th district of PA, where two House incumbents, Representative Keith Rothfus and Representative Conor Lamb duke it out due to redistricting, the question is how these swing districts will go in the Trump era.
Lamb won his seat in the highly covered special election which was caused by “pro-life” Representative Tim Murphy vacating in disgrace after he was caught texting his mistress telling her to have an abortion. Lamb’s win concerns the GOP. The 17th district resulted in an unopposed Republican win for two elections in a row. Lamb won where a Republican had been seated for a solid eight terms. He had won against a Trump-endorsed Republican.
Lamb also presents Rothfus with his career’s biggest financial challenge. Historically, the “Incumbent Advantage” has largely been tied to fundraising advantages and access to more donors. But, in an election pitting two incumbents against each other, the battle will be unique. Rothfus, at a recent rally in PA which VP Pence graced, emphasized that this is “one of the biggest races in the country. It’s the only race where two members of Congress are running against each other.”
Conversely, Rothfus might just have a leg up on young Lamb. And that’s because he supports President Trump: 88.2% of Rothfus’ votes have agreed with Trump’s policy. He has especially supported the tax cut bill: “Boy, what a difference an administration makes. You know, the economic growth that were seeing right now they said could not happen. But it’s happening.”
Rothfus supports Trump on most of the hot-button issues, most recently defending the border wall and immigration enforcement. Just a few days ago, Rothfus emphasized that the real family issue involving illegal immigrants is when illegals murder moms, dads, brothers, sisters of U.S. citizens; that the border issue is a concern for U.S. families as well. President Trump won Rothfus’ original 12th district by 20 points, now the margin is only 2.6 points.
PA Democrats face better prospects for the House than they have for years, due to the Pennsylvania redistricting. As Vox reports: “The new map is positively fantastic news for Democrats in their effort to take back the House this fall. “Democrats get everything they could want.”
The big question in the PA-17 is what wins out: the momentum of new Democratic blood or the loyalty won from Republican promises well kept? The question is generational and cultural and could have implications for the whole country.