Republicans are hoping to hold off an election disaster in another red pocket of the country.
On Tuesday, election handicapper Cook Political Report changed its rating for next month's Pennsylvania House special election to "toss-up" from "lean Republican." The race for Pennsylvania's 18th District — which President Donald Trump won by 20 points in 2016 — appears close with only two weeks until voters head to the polls.
A win by Democratic candidate Conor Lamb would give the minority party in Congress hope about its ability to compete in red districts and potentially win back the House in November. A victory for Republican Rick Saccone would curb Democratic optimism and show the GOP that a strong economy and its new tax law may help it hold both chambers of Congress.
Cook's rating change came as Lamb announced a $3.2 million fundraising haul from Jan. 1 to Feb. 21. Lamb's campaign hits its final stretch without any more financial support from House Democrats' fundraising arm and facing a barrage of spending from Republican outside groups.
Such outside organizations have shelled out $4.8 million opposing Lamb and $2.2 million supporting Saccone, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Conversely, outside groups spent only about $384,000 against Saccone and roughly $244,000 for Lamb.