Rick Saccone officially conceded Wednesday night in his nationally watched 18th Congressional District bid against Democrat Conor Lamb.
Saccone, a Trump-backed Republican from Elizabeth, phoned Lamb about 6:30 p.m., Saccone campaign spokesman Bob Branstetter told the Tribune-Review.
“He congratulated him and wished him luck,” Branstetter said.
Unofficial tallies show Saccone, 60, trailing Lamb, 33, of Mt. Lebanon, by about 700 votes. Results have yet to be certified by election officials in the district’s Allegheny, Westmoreland, Washington and Greene counties.
Lamb declared victory on the night of the special election held eight days before.
Trump effectively conceded for Saccone on Tuesday night at a GOP fundraising event in Washington, D.C.
The Saccone campaign still has concerns, however, over allegations raised by the National Congressional Republican Committee over alleged voting machine errors and potential violations of elections code rules during the March 13 special election.
The NRCC — which pumped more than $3 million into efforts to defeat Lamb — threatened to file a lawsuit, alleging “irregularities” such as glitches in electronic voting machines and problems with voters finding polling places. Elections officials have adamantly disputed the claims.
When asked if the Saccone campaign remains concerned over the special election’s integrity and transparency, Branstetter said, “Absolutely.”
But he added that “it’s up to the NRCC” to decide whether to pursue legal recourse.
When pressed whether claims being raised could have influence the outcome of the election, Branstetter said he was “unsure.”
Saccone now will press forward in a second campaign to represent Pennsylvania’s newly drawn 14th Congressional District, which spans all of Fayette, Greene and Washington counties and portions of Westmoreland County.
The new 14th District favored President Trump in the 2016 election by about 20 percentage points.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.