Republicans Paralyzed by Pennsylvania Election Stunner squib

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Republicans on Wednesday seemed paralyzed in disagreement over what lessons, if any, they should take from their debilitating special-election loss in a deep-red district in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Those directly involved in the close contest tried to brush it off as a one-off and not reflective of a damaged brand heading into the 2018 midterm elections. Yet on Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers warned that the race was the latest sign of a potentially disastrous midterm election ahead—and that absent a cosmic change in political trajectory, the party would lose its majorities in the House and, potentially, the Senate.

“We’re running into a big headwind. A lot of my Republican colleagues in these marginal or swing districts are well-prepared to protect themselves,” Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who announced his retirement last year, said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “I worry about the members who have never had a run-in with a tough environment like this who think they’re in fairly safe seats. They’ll become very surprised on Election Day.”

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