As special elections close out, Dems enjoying strong enthusiasm

An AP analysis held up Conor Lamb's victory over Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania as an example of strong enthusiasm from Democrats. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

An AP analysis held up Conor Lamb's victory over Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania as an example of strong enthusiasm from Democrats. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

As midterms approach, Republicans and Democrats around the country are looking at special election results for clues on how their candidates will do in November.

A new Associated Press analysis shows Democrats, so far, have an enthusiasm advantage.

And in Pennsylvania, Democrats are trying to capitalize on that.

There have been ten special elections since Donald Trump became president. The final one before the midterms was last Tuesday in Ohio.

The AP has found that in all of them, Democratic voters beat their usual vote totals by a wider margin than Republicans.

Pennsylvania was a key example. Democrat Conor Lamb beat GOP favorite Rick Saccone in a district outside of Pittsburgh that Trump won by almost 20 points.

Democrats didn’t win all the specials — the calculation measured candidates’ performance as a percentage of what they could expect in a high-turnout presidential election.

But even so, Pennsylvania Democratic party spokesman Brandon Cwalina said it bodes well for the midterms.

“Historic wins across the commonwealth in 2017 and Conor Lamb’s remarkable victory earlier this year prove that we have the grassroots energy and have a strong coalition on the ground to propel us to victory,” he wrote.

A spokesman for state Republicans, meanwhile, said the special elections don’t necessarily predict anything.

Democrats, spokesman Jason Gottesman said, are “increasingly supportive of a radical socialist agenda, [while] Republicans appeal to moderate Pennsylvanians who want to see a pro-growth government that respects the rule of law.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.