GOP candidate in Pennsylvania struggles with campaign basics

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Short on campaign cash of his own, Rick Saccone has relied nearly entirely on the national party and outside groups to wage a media blitz on his behalf. "He reminds me of my son Beau", the former DE attorney general and rising Democratic star who died of brain cancer in 2015, Biden said.

He cast Lamb, the 33-year-old Marine veteran and prosecutor, as cut from the same cloth. He's pro-gun and personally opposed to abortion, although he has said he wouldn't vote to restrict access.

The Republican nominee to hold the seat, Rick Saccone, a 60-year-old four-term state legislator, says he was "Trump before Trump was Trump", which is probably true but might not be saying much, the eponymous fellow having recently arrived at his current convictions and party allegiance.

But another new poll has better news for the Democrat. He has said he wouldn't vote for Nancy Pelosi to lead House Democrats and that he would work with Trump on areas where he could find agreement with the president.

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"When the two candidates were picked ... So I think it's long overdue", Lamb said then.

Other GOP groups are also spending heavily. Bliss said the organization has spent $3 million on advertisements and has 50 full-time door-knockers.

Van Hollen, who now runs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said he believes that Republicans are suffering the same message problem as Democrats did in 2010, as they can not shift the blame to anyone else. In all, GOP party committees and outside groups have spent more than $9 million on Saccone's behalf, compared to about $1.2 million for Lamb.

Just days before western Pennsylvania's special election, his campaign informed some residents that he may knock on doors that morning in this critical GOP stronghold. He noted that Lamb did not face a Democratic primary, which often forces candidates to move to the left.

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Republicans can not believe how much money they've spent for such little return, never landing a fatal blow on Lamb, a first-time candidate.

J.D. Angle, a Texas-based Democratic strategist, disagrees.

"We'll find out", Lamb said. "Election day is going to be like Dunkirk - everybody in their auto is going to go out and make sure everybody gets there". "Lamb has not really made this about Washington politicians, but about the issues that are important to all voters". Tim MurphyTim MurphyTrump to Pa. GOP: Challenge congressional map all the way to Supreme Court Pennsylvania Supreme Court releases new congressional map Dems don't plan to put more money into heated Pa. race MORE's (R-Pa.) seat.

By the time the November 2018 midterms roll around, neither Lamb or Saccone will live in the new 18th district. Other national groups allied with the GOP have spent almost $8 million on advertising in the race, which is more than seven times the amount invested by national Democratic allies not affiliated with the Lamb campaign.

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But those messages have not done the damage Republicans had been hoping for - Lamb and Saccone are running neck and neck.

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