Trump visiting Pittsburgh International tonight in final push for Saccone
President Donald Trump is scheduled give Republican Rick Saccone’s congressional campaign a final push in a rally at Pittsburgh International Airport Saturday night, three days before a special election that has captured the nation’s attention.
Trump posted to Twitter Friday night saying, “Big crowd expected in Moon Township,” where the president is expected to talk about tax reform, the economy and Saccone, 60, a state representative from Elizabeth and an Air Force veteran.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2018
The latest Gravis Marketing poll of the district shows a lead of just a few percentage points for Saccone, who faces Democrat Conor Lamb, 33, a former federal prosecutor and Marine, in the Tuesday election to represent the 18th Congressional District.
The race is much closer than the area’s voting history would have suggested. Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 19 percentage points in the district, which includes parts of Allegheny, Westmoreland, Washington and Greene counties. Former Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned the seat amid an extramarital scandal in the fall, never faced a serious threat from Democrats in eight elections.
Carmelita Gigliotti, 66, of Triple Crown Circle, is attending her first Trump rally. “I think he has the best interest of the country at heart. And he says what he does and does what he says.” Controversies — such as Stormy Daniels — not as important as what he’s doing, she said. pic.twitter.com/fzwPbUvWeo
— Wes Venteicher (@wesventeicher) March 11, 2018
Money is pouring into the race as the national parties frame it as a referendum on Trump and on Democrats’ prospects for winning a majority in the U.S. House in midterm elections later this year. Outside group have spent more than $10 million to support Saccone as Lamb has outraised the Republican in direct contributions, garnering $3.8 million to Saccone’s $900,000.
With Trump’s visit Saturday – his fifth to the region since 2015 – the president is expected to cast his economic policies as efforts to help American workers. In a January visit, he described his tax reform plan as a raise for American families. The reforms doubled the standard deduction most Americans claim on their taxes while sharply reducing the corporate tax rate and adding an estimated $1.5 trillion to the deficit.
He signed orders Thursday imposing tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports from most countries, a move he said would help regrow those industries in the United States.
Trump made trade a focal point of a speech two days before the 2016 presidential election in the same hangar where he will talk Saturday. In that speech, he criticized the Bill Clinton-supported North American Free Trade Agreement, which is now being renegotiated, and said, “We are bringing steel back to Pennsylvania like it used to be.”
Both 18th District candidates expressed some support for the tariffs in a recent debate. Saccone has campaigned as a candidate who would carry out Trump’s agenda, and quipped in a debate last month that his only area of disagreement with the president is which football team each supports.