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Voter numbers inch up slightly ahead of special election to replace Tim Murphy

| Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, 3:27 p.m.
Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb, a former federal prosecutor, are running for Congress in a March 13 special election.
Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb, a former federal prosecutor, are running for Congress in a March 13 special election.

People haven't rushed to register to vote in an upcoming special election in Southwestern Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, according to Department of State data.

Data showed 500,787 people were registered to vote in the district that includes parts of Allegheny, Washington, Westmoreland and Greene counties as of Monday. That's up 940 voters, or 0.2 percent, from the end of November.

Monday was the deadline to register to vote in the March 13 special election to fill the seat vacated by former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned in October following reports that the pro-life congressman asked a mistress to have an abortion during a pregnancy scare.

Democrat Conor Lamb, 33, a former Marine and federal prosecutor from Mt. Lebanon, faces Republican Rick Saccone, 59, an Air Force veteran and state legislator from Elizabeth.

The district included 231,171 registered Democrats, down 65 from November; and 207,228 registered Republicans, up 386 from November, according to the data.

Despite Democrats' registration edge, Republican Donald Trump won the district by 20 percentage points over Hillary Clinton. Democrats did not even mount a campaign against the Republican Murphy in the past two elections, and none of his six contested races was close — he won by 16 percentage points in the narrowest victory.

About 710,000 people live in the congressional district.

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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