Democrats on Sunday picked Conor Lamb to run for the congressional seat vacated by former Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), who resigned last month after it was revealed that he’d urged a woman he was having an affair with to have an abortion.
Lamb, 33, is a federal prosecutor and a Marine Corps veteran. He’ll be facing GOP state Rep. Rick Saccone in the March 13 special election.
Democratic leaders said 554 county committee members from Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District gathered at a local high school on Sunday to select their candidate in a nominating convention. Lamb won on the second ballot.
“This unprecedented convention was held to enable the State Party to hear the voices of the people who live in the 18th Congressional District, and we are thrilled with the outcome,” Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Marcel L. Groen said in a statement.
Lamb on Sunday dodged a question about whether he’d support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) if elected to Congress, telling a reporter from The Washington Post that the query is “too soon, and presumptuous.” Republicans effectively made hay of the Democratic leader’s national unpopularity to help them win a special congressional election earlier this year in Georgia. The GOP also prevailed in special congressional elections in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina.
While recent Democratic gains in Virginia and New Jersey have raised excitement and expectations within the party, a win in the Western Pennsylvania district will be no easy task. President Donald Trump won it by almost 20 points in last year’s election.
Murphy, a prominent anti-abortion congressman, admitted to having an affair with a “personal friend” in September. The woman called him out for his views in a text message after he asked her to have an abortion during an “unfounded pregnancy scare.”
While Murphy had initially said he would retire next year at the end of his term, he was quickly pushed out by top Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), in October.
This article was updated to more accurately reflect Pelosi’s role in special congressional elections.