Conor Lamb ‘Broke the Mold’ in an Increasingly Far-Left Party, Rendell Says

Former governor says razor-thin margin in Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district shows 'it isn't good' when Dems 'play identity politics'

by Kathryn Blackhurst | Updated 14 Mar 2018 at 7:17 AM

Democratic candidate Conor Lamb “turned out to be a terrific candidate” in Pennsylvania’s special congressional election Tuesday because he “broke the mold” by running on a moderate platform in a conservative district, according to the Keystone State’s former Gov. Ed Rendell.

“The president has a 50 percent favorability rating, according to the Monmouth poll, in the district. So it’s solid Trump country,” Rendell said on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.” In addition, he said that “Lamb turned out to be a terrific candidate. He did a good job of not letting the Republicans nationalize the race.”

The Associated Press made the rare move late Tuesday evening by saying it would not announce any winner at night because the race was still too close to call.

Democrat Rendell, who was Pennsylvania’s governor from 2003 to 2011, noted that President Donald Trump won the 18th district by 20 points on Election Day in 2016. This “will be a credit to” Lamb if he ultimately gains the upper hand against GOP candidate Rick Saccone, Rendell said.

Rendell noted that Lamb is a moderate who is “more pro-life than most Democrats,” who is “moderate on guns” and “did a good job with the steel workers and the coal miners” by receiving their endorsements.

“It is indicative of what’s going on across the nation,” Rendell said, noting that Democrats “have picked up a substantial percentage of the vote from wherever they were in 2016” in the special elections since then.

“So that’s a good sign for the Democrats,” Rendell said. “The core values of the Democratic Party going back 50 years are values that most Americans agree with. And we’ve gotten away from them. We play identity politics. It isn’t good.”

Fox News contributor Monica Crowley agreed with Rendell and lamented that the Democratic Party is no longer a party for pragmatists and centrists.

"It is a far-Left radical party. Conor Lamb broke the mold for that because he was running in a district that Donald Trump won by 20 points, a very conservative district," Crowley said.

"The lesson going forward, then, for the Democratic Party is if you want to try to get back to an appeal to the working-class voters that helped put Donald Trump over the top ... Then you'd better change your tune and get back to the Democratic principles of the party of old, which is more pragmatist, centrist and moderate, and reject the [Nancy] Pelosi and Barack Obama ... far-Left kind of radical approach."

Related: Republican House Candidate Warns Opponent Is ‘Chameleon'

Crowley said Trump "turned everything upside down" in 2016 by championing pragmatism more than ideology as he gave forgotten men and women "a voice" and "spoke to them."

"So he takes positions that are not traditionally Republican, even though he won as a Republican president," Crowley said, pointing to the "cross-current appeal to the working-class voters" who "felt ignored by the elites" in both parties. This worked for Trump and is working for Lamb.

"So if you're a Democrat, and if your candidate pulls this out in this district, the lesson is to reject the far-Left approach that was begun by Obama and perpetuated by Nancy Pelosi and the other radicals that are controlling the Democratic Party," Crowley warned. "Their eyes should be opened tonight and they should see even if they lose ... that the path to electoral success does not go through far-Left radicalism."

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

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