2 men, 1 congressional seat: A look at the candidates

Conor Lamb, the Democratic candidate for the March 13 special election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District celebrates with his supporters at

CANONSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Who are the two men locked in a nail-biter election to represent many Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, suburbs and a wide rural area stretching to the West Virginia border?


Democrat Conor Lamb points to his Catholic faith to explain that he personally opposes abortion but believes it is protected by the Constitution. He opposes sweeping new gun regulations. He doesn't spend much time criticizing the Republican president. But he's embraced unions in this historically industrial region, blasted Republican tax cuts and warned of looming threats to Social Security and Medicare.

Republican Rick Saccone is known for his fiery speeches in the Pennsylvania Legislature and a willingness to buck party leaders. He also was an early supporter of Donald Trump, support that remained steadfast through Tuesday night's election. He opposes abortion and favors gun rights.

He was a frequent critic of the government and political deal-making. His support of religion in public life has made him a favorite of religious conservatives.


Lamb was commissioned as a Marine Corps officer and served as a Marine lawyer in the Judge Advocate General's Corps after law school in Okinawa, Japan. He left active duty with the rank of captain and still serves in the reserves.

Saccone served as a counterintelligence officer in the Air Force. Later, he served as a civilian adviser for a year in Iraq, going on to write a series of editorials defending waterboarding. He lived in South Korea, where he met his wife, and worked in the private sector, including as an anchor for an English-language television news station. He also spent a period in North Korea as an observer on an unsuccessful American-sponsored nuclear power project aimed at freezing North Korea's homegrown plutonium production. He earned a PhD. in international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh before running for office.


At just 33, Lamb would be one of the youngest members of Congress. (Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the youngest, has him beat by just a few days.) At 60, Saccone has a longer record in public life, having served in the Legislature since 2010. He has two adult sons, both serving in the Air Force.