In what's become a surprisingly tight race, Democrat Conor Lamb will face Republican Rick Saccone.
Likely voters in the district are also evenly split on which party they'd like to see in control of Congress (42% prefer the Democrats, the same share the Republicans) and an equal 44% say they have a favorable impression of each party. Saccone has campaigned as a candidate who would carry out Trump's agenda, and quipped in a debate last month that his only area of disagreement with the president is which football team each supports.
In one of the rally's more surreal moments, the president actually provided the crowd with an extended, almost two-minute impression of being presidential that mocked the more straight-laced style of previous presidents and suggested that Trump's looser style is more entertaining.
But it's not clear what effect that could have on the final outcome. I know her weakness, said Trump. But the president said the policy is evidence of his defense of the working class. Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District has an estimated 17,000 steelworkers and nearly 90,000 voters from union households. The seat had been held by GOP Rep.
Republican Rep. Tim Murphy represented the district from 2003 until this year. "We need our congressman Saccone". Lamb opposes so-called "right-to-work" laws, which prevent unions from mandating dues payments from members they represent.
But in classic Trump fashion, he quickly steered away from his main reason for being there.
Trump also spoke at length about stricter penalties for drug dealers, speaking positively of other countries, like China, which impose the death penalty on drug dealers. He said the only way to solve our drug problem is to be tough and he believes the u-s should consider similar penalties.
Someone who still has sway in southwest Pennsylvania? An estimated 12,000 people have been killed by police and vigilantes in the Philippines after having been suspected of drug offenses.
As is typical at any Trump rally, the president delighted in relitigating the 2016 election-and, also typically, got key facts wrong. In his latest political rant in Pennsylvania, Trump took aim at drug dealers. Saccone has cited support for legislation to combat the crisis.
He said Chinese leader Xi Jinping told him the country has no problems with drugs because of executions.
"There's also a segment of undecideds that hopefully they'll remember why they voted for Trump to begin with, and they'll come out and vote for me", Saccone said before talking to natural gas workers in Canonsburg.
Lamb, a 33-year-old Marine veteran and former prosecutor, has positioned himself as more representative of the district than Saccone, a 60-year-old state lawmaker. The president repeatedly reminisced about his election, when Pennsylvania helped put him over the top after decades of landing in the Democrats' column. He stressed that Lamb would protect programs such as Social Security and Medicare, according to video of the event posted on Facebook.
Last May, Trump congratulated Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte for a "great job" in his crackdown on drugs.
In contrast, Lamb has raised over $3 million directly and has largely operated without the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which some operatives admit could have been a liability for him.
"Normally this would be a bad strategy [for Republicans], but it's clearly the way to stay competitive", said political scientist Michael Franz, with the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks campaign advertising and spending. "It's an A-plus candidate, honestly, in Conor Lamb, versus an F candidate in Saccone and the campaign that has been run". "And we can leave right now", Trump said near the start of his remarks.
It might be legally possible to make more drug-related offenses capital crimes in the USA, but critics of harsher penalties for drug offenders point out that such a policy could backfire and worsen the epidemic.
So Saccone and Republican forces have answered with their national arguments.
Lamb raised more than four times as much money as his opponent as of February 21, according to Federal Elections Commission documents. But because candidates are given a better rate for television ads, Lamb has been able to compete on the airwaves thanks to his prodigious fundraising.