Kulik’s opponent Danny DeVito and Lamb’s opponent Sean Parnell refused to concede their races at the time of printing.
By Jamie Wiggan
A nationally fraught election has played out no less turbulently in local and regional races, where two Republican challengers have yet to concede despite their Democratic opponents claiming victory.
As it stands, the Associated Press has called Pennsylvania’s 17th U.S. Congressional District race in favor of Democratic incumbent Conor Lamb, while state representatives Anita Kulik (D-45) and Dan Deasy (D-27) also maintain safe leads according to Allegheny County’s provisional voting data.
Republicans secured a victory, however, in the State’s 37th Senate District, where Democrat incumbent Pam Iovino has conceded to GOP challenger Devlin Robinson.
Kulik’s opponent Danny DeVito and Lamb’s opponent Sean Parnell refused to concede their races at the time of printing. Both are taking President Donald Trump’s lead in disputing the truthfulness of the many mail-in ballots cast this year, but neither has yet established clear evidence of widespread voter fraud or erroneous tallying measures.
“We need to make sure that all the legal votes get counted — we’re trying to avoid having the illegal fraud ballots counted,” DeVito said.
DeVito acknowledged his efforts are unlikely to close the 22-point lead currently projected for Kulik but is instead focusing on the presidential race, where former Vice President Joe Biden has accepted unofficial projections showing him as the clear winner.
“I believe that if we count all the legal votes, then President Trump wins,” he said. “At the same time if we add the fraud ballots then Joe Biden may steal the election.”
Kulik struck a different tone, affirming the public can trust the results recorded by Allegheny County’s electoral processes.
“Allegheny County’s doing a great job counting the votes,” she said.
After Lamb claimed victory during a live press conference on Nov. 4, before any media outlets had called the race, Parnell shot back with a campaign statement the following day.
“Late last night, despite previously calling for every vote to be counted, Conor Lamb claimed victory practically the minute he took a slim lead in the race,” the statement said.
In subsequent statements, Parnell has further questioned voting results in Pennsylvania and vowed to continue contesting the outcome of his race.
“The battle here in #PA17 is far from over and we are going to fight like hell for free, fair and transparent elections and to ensure that every legal vote counts,” he tweeted Nov. 6.
As of Nov. 9, Pennsylvania state records show Lamb with a roughly 9,000-vote lead over Parnell, with a very small number of ballots still to be counted.
Current projections show Biden holding a slightly less than 50,000-vote lead over Trump in overall ballots cast throughout Pennsylvania.
State Republicans have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to outlaw any ballots cast by Nov. 3 but delivered to polling stations up to three days later — ballots Pennsylvania’s state department said would be counted.
However, ballot data so far available indicate it is unlikely that a favorable ruling will have enough impact to overturn the presidential race in Pennsylvania. Data released by Allegheny County indicate less than 0.002% of total ballots cast were received in the mail between Nov. 3 and Nov. 6.
In a separate move, Pennsylvania House Republicans have called for a statewide audit of all election results. Parnell’s campaign manager Andrew Brey said the campaign would not comment further until all results are tabulated and finalized.
Seen as a Democrat hotspot due to the overwhelming party support in the city of Pittsburgh and surrounding urban centers, Allegheny County nonetheless draws strong Republican support from suburban voters.
Kulik, who outperformed Biden in many of the local wards, said she tries to represent the needs of all her constituents, regardless of party.
“As the representative of the 45th district I have to make sure I’m taking care of every single resident here, and I continue to work with my Republican colleagues and my Democrat colleagues to make sure we represent everyone,” she said.
After securing re-election, Kulik said her current priority is supporting small businesses through the coronavirus crisis.
Lamb, who was first elected to Congress two years ago during a special election for Pennsylvania’s former 18th district, has also worked to carve out a bi-partisan image.
The former Marine and federal prosecutor has championed unions while articulating a strong Catholic faith and modest support for gun rights.
Lamb’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Iovino, another veteran, managed to win the Republican-leaning 37th Senatorial district in a close contest against former Allegheny County Republican chair D. Raja less than two years ago.
Her victory then came on the heels of a “blue wave” that flipped Congress to the Democrats in late 2018, and was largely fuelled by suburban voters dissatisfied with the Trump administration.
Without that momentum this year — where House Democrats performed poorly despite Biden’s win — Iovino’s bid to maintain a historically red district was unsuccessful.