Pennsylvania Republican: GOP running into ‘hurricane-force’ headwinds

Rep. Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentGOP House candidate placed on leave from longtime position after sexual misconduct allegation Election handicapper moves GOP leader's race to 'toss-up' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Pa.) on Wednesday warned Republicans that they are facing a "very serious headwind" going into this year's midterm elections.

In an interview with CNN's "New Day," Dent said Tuesday's too-close-to-call special election in Pennsylvania's 18th District, which voted for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE by a 20-point margin in 2016, should be a serious red flag to the GOP. 

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"I think most Republicans realize we're running into a very serious headwind, a hurricane-force wind," Dent said. "It's coming, and we have to be ready for it. Some of our members in the marginal districts, the swing districts, are better prepared for these fights, frankly, than some members in safer seats."

Dent went on to warn his fellow Republicans in traditionally red districts that Democrats' competitiveness in the 18th District means they are just as vulnerable as GOP members in swing districts.

"I tell you what, if you're a Republican member in a pretty safe seat, like this one was, that's where I'd be nervous because these members are not used to running in these types of competitive situations," he said.

"The marginal swing districts, they know they're in for a fight. It's these guys in these safer seats. I think this is a wake-up call for them."

In the 18th District race, to replace disgraced Rep. Tim MurphyTim MurphyJordan weathering political storm, but headwinds remain Saccone loses GOP primary comeback bid in Pa. Nearly half of voters hope for Dems to win majority in 2018: poll MORE (R), Democratic candidate Conor Lamb declared victory over GOP state Rep. Rick Saccone late Tuesday night after vote counts showed him with a 641-vote lead with 100 percent of precincts reporting. But Saccone had not yet conceded as of Wednesday morning and could request a recount.

More than 1,000 absentee ballots remained uncounted and election officials said the race was too close to call heading into Wednesday morning.

Republicans spent more than $10 million in the final weeks of the campaign to try and hold on to the district, and a number of pundits looked at Lamb's performance Tuesday night as an indicator for possible Democratic performance in the upcoming midterm elections.

Democrats need a net gain of 24 seats in November to take back the majority in the House. In the Senate, Democrats need a net gain of two seats to take the majority.