Trump Moves Goalposts After PA12 Win
President Donald Trump touched down in Montoursville on Monday to boost state Rep. Fred Keller’s bid for Congress. A day after the Republican’s landslide win, he spiked the football – and then some.
In an impromptu speech in the White House Rose Garden, Trump mostly railed against the Mueller investigation and Democrats’ subsequent subpoenas. But he segued to PA12 to argue the national media had ignored a favorable story.
“We had an election for Fred Keller, who was a 50-50 shot, but won in a landslide,” Trump said. “We went and we did a rally, hardly mentioned today and yet if he lost it would’ve been the biggest story in the country, even bigger than this witch hunt stuff that you guys keep writing about.”
Keller won by 36 points. It was a good night for Trump and the GOP. But the race was never close to 50-50.
Keller’s win was in line with the partisan lean of PA12. Trump carried PA12’s boundaries by 36 points in 2016 over Sec. Hillary Clinton. Retiring Rep. Tom Marino (R-Lycoming), who was the first Pennsylvania representative to endorse Trump’s his presidential candidacy in 2016, defeated Democrat Marc Friedenberg by 32 points in 2018.
Furthermore, while Republicans took the race seriously, Democrats barely mentioned the race – let alone spent on it. According to the National Journal’s Alex Clearfield, the DCCC and DNC did not tweet about Friedenberg’s bid once leading up to the election. None of the two dozen presidential hopefuls came to stump.
That said, the fact that Republicans ran up a similar margin as 2016 is a favorable sign for the party. As is the fact that the first special election of the 2020 cycle saw no shift in the Democrats’ direction.
Trump shared a nearly identical message during the rally on Monday night right after Keller joined him on stage calling the race a “little bit of a referendum” on him and said the story would be ignored by and large by the media if Keller won.
There was clear evidence of a Trump bump Tuesday. The President tweeted his endorsement of Superior Court hopeful Megan King just hours after his rally. King was the highest GOP vote-getter in the three candidate field.