The New York Times is commending Democratic Pennsylvania congressional candidate Conor Lamb for his performance in a deep-red district, saying it shows that Democrats should challenge Republicans in every race this fall. 

“Regardless of who wins the special House election in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, the Democratic candidate, Conor Lamb, has already accomplished something impressive by showing that his party ought to contest every election — no matter how daunting the odds,” The Times’ editorial board wrote. 

Voters on Tuesday will decide between Lamb, a former Marine and prosecutor, and Republican state legislator Rick Saccone. The latest polling shows Lamb leading Saccone by 6 points in the Pittsburgh-area district, which  President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out ‘subversion’ at VA MORE won by nearly 20 points in 2016. 

“There is no doubt that Mr. Lamb has benefited from running against a lackluster opponent,” the Times’ editorial board wrote, but noted that “without a serious Democratic challenger, Mr. Saccone might have coasted to victory” in the special election. 

Republican congressional leadership has chided Saccone for his poor fundraising efforts, and dumped millions of dollars into the race that many thought was safe going into 2018. 

The Times’ editors also cited the moderate Democrat’s maneuvering in the race, in which he has downplayed controversial issues such as abortion while supporting gun ownership. 

“Mr. Lamb has done what many Democrats have been unwilling or unable to do: speak directly and plainly to voters about their concerns. Smartly, he has not turned this race into a referendum on Mr. Trump’s popularity, which has been a losing proposition in other races, including in the 2016 presidential election,” the Times said. 

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