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story.lead_photo.caption Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers, left, lifts up Democratic candidate Conor Lamb's hand as the crowd erupts in cheers and chants during a rally, Sunday, March 11, 2018, at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Waynesburg, Pa. Lamb is running against state Rep. Rick Saccone for Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District in a special election on Tuesday. (Antonella Crescimbeni/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

CANONSBURG, Pa. -- The final day of campaigning Monday before votes are cast in western Pennsylvania's closely watched congressional election drew a visit by Donald Trump Jr. and lots of door-knocking all over the southwestern district, where polls show a close race.

President Donald Trump tweeted about "steel and business" in a final push to sway voters, while Trump Jr., visiting a candy-making business, touted Republican Rick Saccone as someone who will be "helping fight with my father" for jobs to come back from overseas.

Later Monday, Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News' Sean Hannity that "the only thing at stake is everything" in the race, saying that Trump's entire agenda is on the line.

Saccone, a 60-year-old state lawmaker, has struggled with an electorate that favored Trump by nearly 20 percentage points just 16 months ago. He's up against 33-year-old Conor Lamb, who pitches himself as an independent-minded Democrat.

Lamb mostly stayed away from the cameras Monday.

Saccone is a strong Trump supporter who boasts one of the most conservative voting records in Pennsylvania's Legislature. That hasn't given Saccone much traction against Lamb, a Marine veteran and former federal prosecutor, in a district with influential labor unions and a long history of coal mining and steel-making.

A key difference between Saccone and the seat's previous holder, eight-term Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned last fall amid a sex scandal: Murphy tended to have labor union support. Saccone does not.

GOP and Trump-aligned groups have spent more than $10 million to prop up Saccone. They've painted Lamb as a lackey of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California and weak on immigration.

[PRESIDENT TRUMP: Timeline, appointments, executive orders + guide to actions in first year]

"Lamb will always vote for Pelosi and Dems....Will raise taxes, weak on Crime and Border," Trump tweeted Monday.

For his part, Lamb has held the national party at arm's length, opposing sweeping gun restrictions, endorsing Trump's new steel tariffs, avoiding attacking the president and telling voters he wouldn't back Pelosi for speaker if Democrats won a House majority.

Lamb, however, keeps to party orthodoxy on unions.

He blasts the new Republican tax law as a gift to the wealthy and paints congressional Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, as a threat to Social Security and Medicare.

"I was really down after the presidential election, but Conor has me totally enthusiastic again," said Patricia Bancroft, 62.

A Section on 03/13/2018

Print Headline: Pennsylvania candidates make final pitches

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