RNC touts investments ahead of key Pennsylvania special election

RNC touts investments ahead of key Pennsylvania special election
© Getty

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is detailing its efforts to help boost state Rep. Rick Saccone (R) ahead of next week's pivotal special election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District.

The RNC has spent heavily in the district to lift Saccone over his Democratic rival Conor Lamb— an RNC official told The Hill the party will ultimately have spent $1.4 million there through Tuesday's election.

The GOP is looking to avoid a major symbolic upset in the district, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpPoll: Both parties need to do more on drug prices Senate approves .3 trillion spending bill, sending to Trump White House: Trump will delay steel tariffs for EU, six countries MORE won by 20 points in 2016 but is now seen by most election analysts as a toss-up. The president is scheduled to headline a rally in the area on Saturday night.


The GOP spending, which an RNC official outlined exclusively to The Hill on Friday, focuses on a group of about 300,000 likely voters. The RNC has made more than a million voter contacts as part of that push, targeting that group with more than 760,000 phone calls and reaching 250,000 by going door to door.

Voters also received mailers and were targeted through digital efforts as well. The RNC official added the party believes those efforts will increase turnout on Tuesday

The GOP efforts, which include RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel traveling to the district for Saturday's rally with Trump, are just a part of a massive undertaking by Republicans looking to hold the House seat.

Republicans — including the national party, the House campaign arm and several outside groups — have spent a combined more than $10 million in the state on advertising and a ground-game operation.

The White House has also joined in to flood the zone with top officials. Trump previously visited the district during an official trip earlier this year; Vice President Pence campaigned with Saccone in February; Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Regulation: Groups sue over decision to end pay-data rule | EU proposes tax on tech companies | Sessions issues memo on death penalty for drug cases | Pruitt spent 5K on first class flights Overnight Energy: EPA says Pruitt's security detail flies first class | Lackluster offshore drilling sales | Oil companies snag leases near Bears Ears monument Zinke and his wife took security detail on vacation to Turkey, Greece: report MORE visited the area for an official trip in February; and White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayConway on fentanyl: 'Eat the ice cream, have the french fry, don't buy the street drug' Washington VIPs gather to celebrate Mark Penn's new book Trump to release opioid plan Monday that includes death penalty MORE stumped with Saccone this week.

National Democrats, meanwhile, have attempted to give Lamb some relative distance in the red district, though former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenWhite House would like to see Biden ‘in the boxing ring’ in 2020 Pence: I'd pick Trump over Biden in a fight John Dowd’s resignation sets Trump up for trouble in Mueller probe MORE rallied with Lamb last week and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent about $300,000 on television ads in the race. Lamb has vastly outraised and outspent the Saccone campaign, allowing him to get his message out on the airwaves. 

Democrats had stayed relatively silent about their involvement in the race until only recently in the hopes of limiting potential blowback to their candidate. The party took a similar approach in Alabama for a special election in December for a Senate seat.

In Pennsylvania, outside groups have spent about $1.6 million to help Lamb ahead of Tuesday's election.

Recent polling has shown a tight race, with two polls released this month showing Lamb with the lead, while one found Saccone up by a few points.