Republican House Candidate Warns Opponent Is ‘Chameleon’

Rick Saccone tells Laura Ingraham voters in Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district shouldn't be fooled by Democrat Lamb's claim to be a moderate

by Brendan Kirby | Updated 13 Mar 2018 at 12:56 PM

Campaigning Tuesday on Election Day, Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone urged voters in western Pennsylvania not to fall for Democrat Conor Lamb’s moderation act.

Saccone, a state representative who is the GOP nominee in the special election for the House of Representatives seat in the 18th District, said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that Lamb says one thing on the campaign trail — but will do another if he gets a chance to go to Washington.

“Conor’s a chameleon,” he said. “We’ve outed him so many times.”

Saccone said voters can predict how Lamb will vote by looking at his supporters — House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (D) and “the most liberal governor in America,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

"These are all the people that are leading him around by the nose, telling him what to say," he said.

Lamb, a former Marine and prosecutor, has sought to burnish his credentials as a moderate, just the sort of Democrat who can win in a district that President Donald Trump won by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016. Lamb supports increased military spending, gun rights, and Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs.

Lamb also made waves by saying he would not support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the party's leader in the House.

Saccone said voters should not be fooled.

"Candidates can say whatever they want when they're trying to get elected," he said. "He can come out and say, 'I'm not for Nancy Pelosi.' But he will vote lockstep with them if he were to get there, and everybody needs to know that."

Saccone, an Air Force veteran who served as a counterintelligence officer, said he is "with the president 100 percent," like most voters.

"We're known in the district," he said. "I've been in the legislature for four terms."

The special election, triggered by the resignation of an avowedly pro-life Republican representative who reportedly pressured his mistress to have an abortion, will determine the next congressman in a district that soon will go away.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, after ruling that the map drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature amounted to unconstitutional gerrymandering, ordered new districts for the November election.

Related: Dems Sense Pickup Opportunity in Trump-Friendly Pennsylvania District

That map essentially divides the district in half.

"They've gerrymandered this worse than the gerrymandering they were complaining about," Saccone said. "And so, yeah, I will not be in the 18th. They've conveniently, by one mile, excommunicated me from the 18th … It's just amazing. It's thrown a real monkey wrench into the whole political landscape here in Pennsylvania."

Saccone said he plans to run for a full term in the new 14th District, which will be in the southwest corner of the state and become even more Republican-leaning than the current 18th.

"I got to finish this race. I got to win strong," he said. "Then I will be an incumbent, and then I would run in the 14th District, and that district will be solidly behind me."

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

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