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Af Josh Lederman
MT. LEBANON, Pa. – In a hilly stretch of Pittsburgh suburbs that helped deliver President Trump's victory two years ago, both sides closely hold a competitive special election Tuesday for signs of support for Republicans in the heart eroding.
Democrat Pam Iovino, a navy veteran and former chief executive of George W. Bush, is trying to revive the playbook, which chose Democrat Conor Lamb to the Congress in solid trumpet last year. Iovino, like Lamb, throws herself as a centrist and independent, and the state Senate district she seeks to overlap strongly with Lamb's southwestern Pennsylvania district.
Republican D. Raja, a software company founder who just goes "Raja", emphasizes his background as an immigrant from India who achieved the American dream, just as the Republicans nationally look at the Democrats highlighting the diversity of their candidates in a attempt to draw an adverse contrast to GOP.
It is the first big bellwether race since 2018 midterms, where Democrats took control of the congress by turning seats in exactly the same places as Pennsylvania's 37th senatorial district: industrial, blue-necked areas of the heart where voters are disproportionately white and altered economic gains have swept many of the former jobs.
Democrats are eager to show their gains in the midfields were not an anomaly, while Republicans are working to remove the notion that suburban support is slipping.
The seat has turned back and forth among Democrats and Republicans over the years, most recently by Republican Guy Reschenthaler, who resigned after being elected to Congress in November. Trump won the district with six points in 2016, but it swung back in the midfielders in 2018 and voted to resume Sen. Bob Casey and Gov. Tom Wolf over Republicans who supported Trump's agenda.
Both candidates have attempted to nationalize the race through their attacks on their opponent. Democrats sent broadcasters with Raja with a silhouette of Trump's face as his shadow and reminded the electorate of fine things he said about the president. Raja ran a TV ad showing Iovino next to photos of late Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and accused her of "joining forces with extremists" by supporting "billions in new energy taxes."  "Three strangers to me," Iovino told NBC News in an interview during a break from canvassing in Bethel Park. "I found it almost thin as if you were pulling a game out of a file drawer, beating the face of the Democrats and doing a TV ad. It doesn't matter."
Emphasizes her military background – she earned 23 years in Navy, before President George W. Bush nominated her to be Assistant Secretary for Veterinary Affairs – Iovino has drawn parallels between himself and Lam, which became something of a hero to Rust Belt Democrats after his long-running victory last March. He has been campaigns this year for Iovino.
"Pam Iovino is not a Conor Lam. Her policies are very, very different from Conor Lamb," Raja said, pointing to weapons and abortion. Lam, serving in the US Marine Corps, opposed new restrictions on owning weapons and voting against personal abortion during the campaign, although he did not support turning Roe vs. Wade. In the only debate this year, Iovino emphasized women's right to make decisions privately with their doctors and supported limitation of semi-automatic weapons ownership.
In cities like Mt. Lebanon and the South Hills and Peters Township are the topics that stimulate voters, different from those who use the debate in Washington: Local taxes, school districts, a parochial battle between two Pennsylvania Healthcare nonprofits.
But regardless of the key to winning in these areas, it is extremely important for Trump, who brought Pennsylvania in 2016 with only 44,000 votes, the first Republican to do so since 1988. He must hold Pennsylvania and repeat his unlikely victories in Michigan and Wisconsin to win re-election.
There has been no public vote in the race and no official turnout estimates for the particular election. In a special election for the same seat in 2015, 55,453 votes were registered, even though the election was held on a regular election day together with other races on the ballot, which pointed to lower departure in this solo race.
Democrats got a network of three US households in Pennsylvania in 2018, bringing the state's congressional delegation to a smooth 9-9 split and narrowing their gap with the Republicans in the state general assembly.
Democrats have wiped out other state-run Republicans in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, hoping their prospects are glowing in Rust Belt. This month, Emerson Polling Trumps found support in the Midwest industrial states, losing in a hypothetical matchup with Joe Biden or later Bernie Sanders in Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin.
But Democrats also suffered their share of losses, including a string of four other special elections for state legislative seats this year. Although these losses were a warning sign for Democrats, they were concentrated in states such as Connecticut and Louisiana as less vulnerable to turning to presidential level in 2020. Thus, the party sees a victory in Pennsylvania on Tuesday as a clearer sign that momentum they perceived in The battlefield in 2018 continues as the party drives up to dry to defeat Trump next year.
At the Galleria Mall in Mt. Lebanon, Kristy Nolen said her disgust at what trump and republicans did nationally, weighed on his decision in the special election. The 47-year-old comedy theater manager said she was planning to vote on Tuesday for Iovino.
"Perhaps in another year I could have looked at their guy and said," Yes, maybe, "said Nolen about GOP." But given what we've been through the last two years, I can't. I can't imagine opening up the Republicans at this time. "
There was no hesitation in voting for the Republicans again from Donnie Main, 63, a retired power plant that said he voted for Trump and would do it again despite not agreeing on all fronts.
"Personally, I mean, he's having trouble," Main said. "But as president, I think he's doing a good job."
All told Democrats have won 407 scenarios for legislative sites previously held by Republicans in the United States since Trump joined, according to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, although the GOP has also turned some seats.
In battlefields that favor more moderate candidates, there is also a danger to democrats who derive from a national democratic political scene, highlighting more outwardly liberal politicians, especially since 2020 primary The field takes shape Trump has led Republicans to try to use the "socialist" label for Democrats up and down the vote in an attempt to paint them as too extreme.
Asked what it means for her to be democracy in 2019, Iovino stopped 13 seconds before finally responding: "I think I can only speak best for myself." She said that the democratic values she was brought up focused on education, hard work and the ability to fulfill her potential.
"I think it's very far to the left," Raja said as he was asked to describe the democratic mark. "It is socialist. Thus it has become."
He summarized his own party's brand in 2019 as "everybody works in the country."
"That is the change right now," Raja said in his campaign office surrounded by the campaign. -shirts and host signs stacked waist high. "We represent the trades, we represent all the hard jobs. It is everyone who wants to work."
It is a message Democrats care to be effective for GOP if unemployment, now 3.8 percent, remains low in 2020, after Trump has taken a position. And so many Democrats are working to portray themselves as pragmatists who can work with each of the parties and know that many of the voters they are to win are those who voted for Trump.
When she knocked on doors with flyers and lawns on Iovino, the last weekend before election day approached to a modest single-family house in Bethel Park, where a young man urged her not to be hijacked by an extreme philosophy on both sides.
"I think you saw it in the presidential election," said Iovino to him, "where if you were a democrat, you saw that our candidate is being pulled too far to the left. That was not how true she was . "
The voter agreed, and although he would not commit himself to vote for her, he asked for the third time how she planned to embrace the partisan division where so many others have failed. 19659040] "If you can do that," he said, "you have a chance by my vote."