PITTSBURGH — Republicans will not be conceding anytime soon in a tightly contested special election in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Conor Lamb holds a slim lead over Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone in Tuesday's election.
Lamb's campaign and Democratic groups have declared him the winner, as he sits with less than a 700-vote lead. NBC News also projected him the "apparent winner" early Wednesday morning as more absentee ballots trickled in.
There are still about 203 absentee ballots and then additional provisional and military ballots left to be counted, but Saccone would have to capture an overwhelming majority of those outstanding ballots to win.
Saccone's campaign has not yet conceded, telling MSNBC that it will wait until all of those votes are in to assess the situation. That could take as long as a week.
The national Republican Party, meanwhile, is hinting that it may seek to force a recount.
Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which sunk more than $3 million into helping Saccone across the finish line, said in a brief statement, "We are waiting for provisional ballots to be counted. We are not ruling out a recount."
There is no automatic recount provision for down-ballot races in Pennsylvania. But a group of voters supporting a candidate are allowed to push for a recount with cause.
A source familiar with the situation also told The Hill that the GOP plans to call for all ballots and voting machines to be placed under lock and key in case of a recount. And they are also likely to file a lawsuit based off of three concerns: confusion over the Pennsylvania secretary of State's new website, allegations that Republican attorneys were kicked out of rooms where absentee ballots were counted and that Allegheny County voting machines were miscalibrated.
The Hill could not immediately confirm those allegations.