A visit to suburban Pittsburgh by President Donald Trump’s daughter makes it the third time a senior administration official has dropped in on the political hotspot of 2018’s first congressional election.
Ivanka Trump and Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon met on Tuesday with business owners and Republican state lawmakers in Mount Lebanon, where Trump touted tax-cutting legislation her father signed.
Sitting beside Trump was state Rep. Rick Saccone, the Republican running in March 13’s special election to fill the seat left vacant by Republican Tim Murphy’s resignation amid an abortion scandal. Saccone is facing Democrat Conor Lamb, a former federal prosecutor.
Murphy, who publicly opposed abortion, quit after his hometown newspaper reported he had suggested a mistress get an abortion when they thought she might be pregnant. Millions of dollars are flowing into the race for his seat, mostly to support Saccone. The contest is widely viewed as a test of whether Republicans can stave off Democratic gains in 2018.
Vice President Mike Pence visited this month to help Saccone. Donald Trump visited last month and is returning next week.
Trump, when he spoke at a factory in Coraopolis, praised Saccone as “a real friend and a spectacular man” and said he looked forward to returning for him. The speech he delivered at H&K Equipment touted the tax cuts he signed into law just before Christmas.
Pence, when he addressed supporters at a community center in Bethel Park, said Saccone stands with Trump’s agenda but Lamb doesn’t stand with Trump or support the tax cuts.
Lamb’s campaign manager, Abby Murphy, said after Pence’s speech: “Conor wants a tax cut where most of the benefits go to the hardworking families of the district instead of the richest 1 percent.”