Democrat Conor Lamb has declared himself the winner of the race for the 17th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, but his Republican opponent Sean Parnell has refused to admit defeat until “every legal vote” has been counted.
Lamb, a Mt. Lebanon Democrat, is ahead of Parnell, an Ohio township candidate backed by Donald Trump, with about 4,300 votes on Friday morning. According to the Associated Press, Lamb has 50.5 percent of the vote compared to Parnell with 49.5 percent, with 97 percent of the vote.
In a press release from Parnell’s campaign, however, Lamb was criticized for declaring victory in the race.
The explanation of Parnell’s campaign was: “Last night Conor Lamb, although he had previously called for all votes to be counted, claimed victory practically the minute he took a narrow lead in this race. If Lamb doesn’t have a sixth sense to help him accurately determine the number of votes from the outstanding districts in this razor race, he should exercise the restraint he called for while clearly lagging behind.
“All eyes are on Pennsylvania, and our election workers have volunteered to work day and night to count the votes. It is imperative that we let them continue their work, count every legal vote and let the process continue until its legitimate conclusion.
Parnell was up to 14 percentage points ahead in counting the votes, but Lamb overtook him as more mail was counted in the ballots.
Lamb’s campaign has rejected proposals that they were too quick to see as a success. As campaign manager Abby Nassif-Murphy said: “Math is not a sixth sense. Conor’s lead is insurmountable. We agree that these votes must be counted, and if they are, Conor’s lead will only grow”.
Nassif-Murphy said the delay in counting the Allegheny County votes was due in part to a lawsuit filed by Parnell against voters who received the wrong ballots because of a contractor’s mistake. As a result, the county sent replacement ballots to the affected voters.
“Conor Lamb has more votes than Sean Parnell. There are 12,000 postal ballots in Allegheny County that have not yet been counted because of Parnell’s lawsuit, and we know that Conor is winning the postal ballots by a wide margin,” she said.
In a speech at Steamfitters’ union hall on Thursday, Lamb said, “We are the majority, and we proved that again tonight.
“We can demand that our leaders respect each other and the people they represent. We can demand that they tell the truth, and we can demand that they put the working people and the men and women of our unions before the special interests.
The Democrat called for unity among the electorate, despite the tensions throughout the country in the run-up to the elections.
“I know that many of our fellow Americans have different views. I know that there is a very real lack of trust in our government, in politics, in politicians and even in each other,” Lamb said. “But I still believe that we can reduce these tensions between us if we focus on the goals that we all really share.