GOP senator on Pa. special election: ‘We got our ass kicked’

GOP senator on Pa. special election: ‘We got our ass kicked’
© Greg Nash

GOP Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.) said Wednesday that the Republican Party “got their ass[es] kicked,” in the Pennsylvania special election the night before.

Democrat Connor Lamb declared victory over Republican Rick Saccone in the special House race for Pennsylvania's 18th District. The district has been GOP-held for years, and President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE won it in 2016 by more than 20 points.

“We got our ass kicked. It’s what the political prognosticators called a good ol’ fashioned ass-kicking,” Kennedy told CNN’s Manu Raju.


Most Republican leaders are publicly downplaying the results, pointing out that Lamb didn't have to face a primary and saying he ran as a pro-gun conservative.

After all the absentee ballots were counted, Lamb had 627 more votes than his Republican opponent, who has yet to officially concede.

"It took a little longer than we thought, but we did it. You did it," Lamb told supporters at his election night party shortly before 1 a.m., after he was introduced as "congressman-elect."

Since 2016, the Republican Party has witnessed a number loses in special elections that normally would have been easy wins, most prominently the victory of Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama.

Lamb said he would not support House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats hammer abuse of power charge, allege Trump put self over country Overnight Energy: Trump issues rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections | Pelosi slams new rule as 'an outrageous assault' | Trump water policy exposes sharp divides Pelosi slams Trump administration's new water rule: 'An outrageous assault' MORE (Calif.) as leader of the party if Democrats took the House in the midterm elections. He also supports gun rights and — although he has said Roe v. Wade is the law of the land — he is personally opposed to abortion.

The race, though not consequential to the balance of power in Congress at the moment, was seen as a bellwether of Republican power and a test of whether Trump was hurting the party.

The upset marks a significant loss for the GOP and has the party worried about the possibility of losing the House this November.