Trump brags '5-0' in special elections

By Eli Watkins, CNN

(CNN) -- President Donald Trump on Sunday kept up the drumbeat for Republican Rick Saccone ahead of a special election in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, boasting of his party's "5-0" record in House special elections.

Trump's claim would come with a few caveats, however. Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's special election last year to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Democrats held onto a House seat in California following Xavier Becerra's appointment to California attorney general. A Republican candidate did not make it into the runoff election in that heavily Democratic district.

Republicans have, however, managed to hold onto five House seats in special elections last year. They are:

Kansas' 4th district, vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, was won by Republican Rep. Ron Estes.

Montana's at-large district, vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, was won by Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte in May, who assaulted a political reporter covering the race the day before the election.

Georgia's 6th district, held by former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, ultimately went to Republican Rep. Karen Handel following a bid from Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff that wound up going into a runoff.

South Carolina's 5th district, vacated by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, was won by Republican Rep. Ralph Norman.

Utah's 3rd district, vacated by Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who now works at Fox News, was won by Republican Rep. John Curtis in November.

Some of these elections drew outsize attention, especially Georgia's 6th district, which went into a runoff and was the subject of sustained political focus for weeks. All five of these seats were previously held by Republicans.

Several state and local races have gone in Democrats' favor, however, and the closeness of the special House elections has underscored Democratic hopes in the midterms this year.

The Pennsylvania special election set for this Tuesday is the latest in the slew of surprisingly competitive races.

Trump won the district by 20 points in the presidential election, but the closeness of Republican Saccone and Democratic candidate Conor Lamb has prompted injections of cash and magnified attention on the race. Both parties have trained significant firepower on the district, which due to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, will not exist by the beginning of next year, and Trump visited the area for a rally in support of Saccone on Saturday evening.


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