Are You Ready For a Recount?

Brian Cahn via ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Here’s where we are in the Pennsylvania 18th district special election: the Democrat, Conor Lamb, is ahead by about 1,000 votes with nearly all votes counted. However, there are still about 3,000 absentee ballots left to be counted in three red counties, and the Republican, Rick Saccone, is likely to win them by about 500 votes or so. So the betting money says that “Landslide Lamb” wins a 500-vote squeaker once all the ballots are counted.

But that’s a winning margin of 500 votes out of 220,000, or 0.2 percent. I assume that means we’re in for a recount, and possibly a lengthy hand recount depending on how hard Republicans decide to fight.

Either way, this is a huge turnaround for Democrats in a district they haven’t contested for years. And it’s a huge red siren for Republicans, who have seen their big lead in this district vanish. If Democrats do even half this well in November, it’s a death knell for Republicans.

But even though the big picture will stay the same no matter how the last few votes go, it still matters who wins. In terms of emotional energy, the winning party gets a huge boost and some real momentum going into the rest of the year.

1:30 AM EDT UPDATE: It’s still looking like Lamb will end up about 500 votes ahead when all the votes are counted on Wednesday. If that holds up, all that’s left is whether Saccone pushes for a recount.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend