Democratic Challenger to Conor Lamb Drops From Race, Endorses Him

Lamb running unopposed for Democratic nomination in PA’s new 17th District

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., holds a swearing-in ceremony for Rep.-elect Conor Lamb, D-Pa., in the Capitol on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The path to represent Pennsylvania’s new 17th District has gotten clearer for Rep. Conor Lamb after another Democrat dropped from the race Sunday to support the new congressman.

Democratic candidate Ray Linsenmayer appeared at joint news conference at Lamb’s campaign headquarters in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, to tell volunteers from both campaigns he was suspending his campaign and throwing his support behind Lamb, who currently represents Pennsylvania’s old 18th District.

Linsenmayer is the second Democratic candidate to drop from the May 15 primary. Elizabeth Tarasi, the other Democrat to file for the seat, backed out of the race shortly after Lamb won the special election for former GOP Rep. Tim Murphy’s seat in March.

Lamb is expected to face incumbent Republican Rep. Keith Rothfus in November.

Running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, Lamb, widely seen as a moderate, will not be pushed to the left on certain issues, which could broaden his appeal to a wider base of voters in the district. He benefited from similar circumstances in the special election in March.

Conor Lamb has always shown himself to be a man of strong character and leadership, and has proven he can withstand any attacks the GOP throws at him,” Linsenmayer said Sunday. “While Rep. Lamb and I differ on some issues, we won't make progress on any of them without defeating Keith Rothfus and bringing new leadership to Congress.”

Just days after he won the election to represent the 18th District, Lamb filed papers to run in the 17th District, where he lives.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court re-drew the state’s congressional boundaries for 2018 after ruling the previous map unconstitutionally gerrymandered by Republicans.

Lamb thanked Linsenmayer for his support Sunday and urged the former businessman and Pentagon official’s volunteers to help him against Rothfus.

“Ray has proven to be a strong force in this district and instrumental to the Democratic Party,” Lamb said. “He is a passionate advocate, and I look forward to working together in this campaign and in strengthening the Democratic Party here in southwestern Pennsylvania in the years ahead. Democrats in the 17th District are united, [and] we’re organized and fighting for every vote."

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race for Pennsylvania’s 17th District Tilt Republican.

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