UPDATE: White House downplays results of Pa. vote

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WASHINGTON (AP) — 3:10 p.m.

Photo: Rick Saccone for Congress Photo: Conor Lamb for Congress

The White House is warning against reading too much into the razor-thin outcome of a congressional race in a Pennsylvania district President Donald Trump carried by double digits in 2016.

White House spokesman Raj Shah says Trump's campaigning for Rick Saccone "turned what was a deficit for the Republican candidate to what is essentially a tie."

Shah also says Democrat Conor Lamb "really embraced the president's policies and his vision." Lamb currently holds a narrow lead.

The race has been viewed as a bellwether for Republican performance in the November midterms, with the GOP expected to face significant headwinds at the polls.

Shah says Republicans should not shy away from Trump, asserting, "Candidates that embrace the president going into this fall, we think, will have a better prospect."

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3 p.m.

Counties are reporting their numbers of outstanding ballots as Democrat Conor Lamb holds a 627-vote lead in a Pennsylvania congressional race.

Allegheny County says it has 128 provisional ballots to examine, and 99 military and overseas ballots to tabulate. Counting is to begin Friday and could take several days.

In Washington County, elections officials say they'll sort out about 90 provisional ballots in another day or so, and have 15 military ballots outstanding.

Westmoreland County reports about 20 provisional ballots and no more than 23 additional military or overseas ballots to arrive by next Tuesday's deadline.

Lamb has claimed victory. Saccone has not conceded and The Associated Press has not called the race.

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11:50 a.m.

County officials say they don't expect big changes in Democrat Conor Lamb's narrow lead in a Pennsylvania congressional race as provisional and military ballots are added to the totals.

Lamb leads Republican Rick Saccone by 627 votes after the final absentee ballots cast within the district were counted Wednesday. Saccone has not conceded.

A Westmoreland County elections official says provisional ballots, military ballots and any recount in her county would yield only marginal changes.

Beth Lechman says the GOP-leaning county expects to review about 20 provisional ballots on Friday. Lechman is expecting no more than 23 additional military overseas ballots to arrive by next Tuesday's deadline.

Lechman says she has not heard any complaints from the Saccone campaign or Republican officials about voting or counting in Westmoreland.

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10:50 a.m.

With the last batch of absentee ballots counted, Democrat Conor Lamb is maintaining a slim lead in southwest Pennsylvania as Republicans consider their legal options for a recount in the special congressional election.

Greene County elections officials counted 201 absentee votes Wednesday morning with Republican Rick Saccone notching a net gain of 14 votes. But that's only good enough to trim Lamb's lead. It still stands at 627 votes.

Provisional ballots will be reviewed in the coming days.

The Associated Press has not called the race. Lamb has declared victory but Saccone is not conceding.

The race is being watched nationally as an indicator of Democratic enthusiasm and Republican vulnerability in the November midterm elections.

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10:47 a.m.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Democrat Conor Lamb's strong showing in a special congressional election in Pennsylvania means her party has won a clear victory. That's because of the big Republican effort to hold the heavily GOP district.

With Lamb holding a narrow lead, Pelosi said in a brief interview with The Associated Press that the triumph is "already there." Republicans spent over $10 million and President Donald Trump campaigned there for GOP candidate Rick Saccone.

Pelosi says the race showed, "Don't worry about going after Trump. Just tell people what you have in your heart and in your plan for them."

Asked about Lamb's pledge to not back her to lead House Democrats, Pelosi says, "That's the least of it." She says Democrats just wanted Lamb to win.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan is privately warning Republicans of a "bit of a wake-up call" as Democrat Conor Lamb edged past the Republican in the Pennsylvania special election.

Ryan told House Republicans on Wednesday they need to "get to work," fundraise and not be caught off guard heading into a midterm campaign season where Democratic enthusiasm is real. That's according to two people familiar with Ryan's remarks, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.

Publicly, Ryan was more upbeat, blaming the Pennsylvania outcome in a Trump-heavy district on Lamb's centrist views. Ryan says, "you're not going to see repeated" in November, as Republicans try to retain their majority.

Ryan urged colleagues to tout the GOP-passed tax plan and to remind voters Democrats opposed it.



 
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