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On special election eve, Trump Jr. stumps for Rick Saccone, tours chocolate factory in Western Pa.

| Monday, March 12, 2018, 4:45 p.m.
Donald Trump Jr. sits down with Rick Saccone while campaigning at Sarris Candies in Canonsburg on March 12, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Donald Trump Jr. sits down with Rick Saccone while campaigning at Sarris Candies in Canonsburg on March 12, 2018.
Donald Trump Jr. is interviewed by members of the media inside of Sarris Candies while campaigning with Rick Saccone while campaigning in Canonsburg on March 12, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Donald Trump Jr. is interviewed by members of the media inside of Sarris Candies while campaigning with Rick Saccone while campaigning in Canonsburg on March 12, 2018.
Rick Saccone campaigns with Donald Trump Jr. at Sarris Candies in Canonsburg on March 12, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Rick Saccone campaigns with Donald Trump Jr. at Sarris Candies in Canonsburg on March 12, 2018.
Donald Trump Jr. is interviewed by members of the media inside of Sarris Candies while campaigning with Rick Saccone while campaigning in Canonsburg on March 12, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Donald Trump Jr. is interviewed by members of the media inside of Sarris Candies while campaigning with Rick Saccone while campaigning in Canonsburg on March 12, 2018.
Donald Trump Jr. tours Sarris Candies with Rick Saccone while campaigning in Canonsburg on March 12, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Donald Trump Jr. tours Sarris Candies with Rick Saccone while campaigning in Canonsburg on March 12, 2018.
Donald Trump Jr. tours Sarris Candies with Rick Saccone while campaigning in Canonsburg on March 12, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Donald Trump Jr. tours Sarris Candies with Rick Saccone while campaigning in Canonsburg on March 12, 2018.

Donald Trump Jr. toured Sarris Candies in Canonsburg Monday afternoon, sampling chocolates and ice cream while criticizing Democrats and encouraging the company's workers to vote for congressional candidate Rick Saccone.

Trump Jr.'s message to voters, delivered the day before the Tuesday special election between Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb in the 18th District, mirrored the one his father delivered in a Pittsburgh International Airport hangar Saturday — the administration needs Republicans in Congress to support the president's agenda.

“Just because my father's not on the ticket, they have to show up and vote,” he said.

Norm Candelore, a Sarris manager, led Trump Jr. and Saccone through the chocolate factory, which was preparing for Easter with racks of chocolate bunnies, eggs and baskets. Candelore said the company, founded in 1960, has added 80 jobs since Congress passed a tax reform plan championed by Trump.

Candelore said the company had been successful for decades, but that changes in the tax bill prompted management to hire permanent workers when in the past they would have taken on temporary staff.

Saccone and Trump Jr. chatted and took photos with employees on the tour, attended by dozens of local and national reporters covering the 18th District race, which has been cast as a bellwether for November midterms in which Democrats hope to gain seats in Congress.

Trump Jr. said the administration needs support from Republicans like Saccone to keep at bay the Democrats, whom he called obstructionists and the “party of dependence.”

He credited his father with recent job growth numbers and economic policies he said benefit the region's coal miners and steelworkers.

“We are the guys creating jobs,” he said.

Trump this week signed orders imposing tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports, a move he said would help reduce trade deficits.

Trump Jr. said his father's policies would help bring back businesses that have relocated overseas, saying, “I've been sick of watching other people in foreign lands living our American dream.”

Saccone reiterated his support for Trump, which has been a key feature of his campaign, alluding to his Air Force service and saying that he would be “flying wingman” for the president. He said he has not yet disagreed with the president on any policy issues.

A Monmouth University poll released Monday showed Lamb leading Saccone by 2 to 7 percentage points, depending on turnout. Three percent of likely voters were undecided. Other recent polls have shown the race to be within a few percentage points in a district that Trump won by 19 percentage points in 2016.

Saccone dismissed the polls, saying he has found voters to be supportive of him on the campaign trail.

Tuesday's election is being held to replace former Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned in the fall. The winner will serve out the rest of Murphy's term, which runs through the end of the year.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, wventeicher@tribweb.com or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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