The Republican National Committee (RNC) is detailing its efforts to help boost state Rep. Rick Saccone (R) ahead of next week’s pivotal special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District.
The RNC has spent heavily in the district to lift Saccone over his Democratic rival Conor Lamb— an RNC official told The Hill the party will ultimately have spent $1.4 million there through Tuesday’s election.
The GOP is looking to avoid a major symbolic upset in the district, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE won by 20 points in 2016 but is now seen by most election analysts as a toss-up. The president is scheduled to headline a rally in the area on Saturday night.
The GOP spending, which an RNC official outlined exclusively to The Hill on Friday, focuses on a group of about 300,000 likely voters. The RNC has made more than a million voter contacts as part of that push, targeting that group with more than 760,000 phone calls and reaching 250,000 by going door to door.
Voters also received mailers and were targeted through digital efforts as well. The RNC official added the party believes those efforts will increase turnout on Tuesday.
The GOP efforts, which include RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel traveling to the district for Saturday’s rally with Trump, are just a part of a massive undertaking by Republicans looking to hold the House seat.
Republicans — including the national party, the House campaign arm and several outside groups — have spent a combined more than $10 million in the state on advertising and a ground-game operation.
The White House has also joined in to flood the zone with top officials. Trump previously visited the district during an official trip earlier this year; Vice President Pence campaigned with Saccone in February; Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Trump officials may pursue offshore drilling after election, report says | Energy regulators to delay projects pending appeals | EPA union calls for ‘moratorium’ on reopening plans Trump administration could pursue drilling near Florida coast post-election: report Trump to make it easier for Alaska hunters to kill wolf pups and bear cubs: report MORE visited the area for an official trip in February; and White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayGeorge Conway group hits Ernst in new ad George Conway group contrasts Trump, Eisenhower in battleground states ad Sunday shows preview: Protests against George Floyd’s death, police brutality rock the nation for a second week MORE stumped with Saccone this week.
National Democrats, meanwhile, have attempted to give Lamb some relative distance in the red district, though former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE rallied with Lamb last week and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent about $300,000 on television ads in the race. Lamb has vastly outraised and outspent the Saccone campaign, allowing him to get his message out on the airwaves.
Democrats had stayed relatively silent about their involvement in the race until only recently in the hopes of limiting potential blowback to their candidate. The party took a similar approach in Alabama for a special election in December for a Senate seat.
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In Pennsylvania, outside groups have spent about $1.6 million to help Lamb ahead of Tuesday’s election.
Recent polling has shown a tight race, with two polls released this month showing Lamb with the lead, while one found Saccone up by a few points.