Pennsylvania GOP Candidate Refuses to Concede Until 'Every Legal Vote' Counted

Democrat Conor Lamb has declared himself the winner in the Pennsylvania 17th Congressional District race, but his Republican opponent Sean Parnell has refused to admit defeat until "every legal vote" has been counted.

Lamb, a Mt. Lebanon Democrat, is ahead of Parnell, a candidate from Ohio Township backed by Donald Trump, by around 4,300 votes, as of Friday morning. According to the Associated Press, Lamb has 50.5 percent of the vote compared to Parnell at 49.5 percent, with 97 percent of the votes tallied.

However, a press release by Parnell's campaign has criticized Lamb for declaring victory in the race.

Parnell's campaign's statement read: "Last night, despite previously calling for every vote to be counted, Conor Lamb claimed victory practically the minute he took a slim lead in this race. Unless Lamb has a sixth sense that helps him precisely determine vote totals from outstanding precincts in this razor's edge race, he should exercise the restraint that he was calling for while significantly behind.

"All eyes are on Pennsylvania, and our poll workers have volunteered their time working day and night to count votes. We should absolutely let them continue their work, count every legal vote, and let the process play on until its rightful conclusion."

Conor Lamb
Joe Biden walks with Rep. Conor Lamb on the tarmac prior to his departure from Allegheny County Airport in August 2020 in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania Alex Wong/Getty Images

Parnell was ahead by as many as 14 percentage points earlier in the vote count, but Lamb overtook him as more mail in ballots were tallied.

Lamb's campaign has dismissed suggestions they were too quick to claim success. Campaign manager Abby Nassif-Murphy said: "Math is not a sixth sense. Conor's lead is insurmountable. We agree that those votes must be counted, and when they are, Conor's lead will only grow."

Nassif-Murphy said the delay in counting votes in Allegheny County was partly due to a lawsuit filed by Parnell over voters receiving the incorrect ballots due to a contractor error. As a result, the county had sent replacement ballots to the affected voters.

"Conor Lamb has more votes than Sean Parnell. There are 12,000 mail-in ballots in Allegheny County that haven't yet been counted because of Parnell's lawsuit, and we know that Conor is winning mail-in ballots by a huge margin," she said.

Speaking at a Steamfitters union hall on Thursday, Lamb said: "We are the majority and we proved that again tonight.

"We can demand that our leaders respect each other and the people that they represent. We can demand that they tell the truth and we can demand that they put working people and the men and women of our unions ahead of special interests."

The Democrat called for unity among voters despite the tensions across the country as the election pushes on.

"I know that many of our fellow Americans have different views. I know that there is a very real lack of trust in our government, in politics, in politicians, and even in each other," Lamb said. "But I still believe that we can ease these tensions among ourselves by choosing to focus on the goals that we all really do share."