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Lamb Makes It Official With Biden Endorsement

Gene J. Puskar
Joe Biden appearing on behalf of Conor Lamb during Lamb's 2018 Congressoinal campaign

Pennsylvania Congressman Conor Lamb joined two other Democratic officials with military backgrounds in endorsing Joe Biden Sunday afternoon, formalizing a commitment that has long been obvious.

“Joe Biden knows the people of western Pennsylvania and shares our values,” Lamb said in a Sunday-afternoon statement. He said Biden “respects our people, he knows what they are going through, and he knows what it means to keep your word.”

By contrast, the statement said, “President Trump has not kept his word on some of the most important issues facing western Pennsylvania.” He cited Trump’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act, whose overturning could result in a loss of legal protections for those with chronic medical conditions.

“I believe that the next President must attempt to unify this country. President Trump has only driven people further apart. Joe Biden has promised to try, above all, to bring people together.”

The statement was issued by the Biden campaign, and was joined with similar endorsements made by two other first-term Congressional representatives: eastern Pennsylvania’s Chrissy Houlahan and Elaine Luria of Virginia.

Lamb’s endorsement comes as no surprise: He’s made his affinity for Biden clear since at least last spring, when he cited Biden’s connection with the working- and middle-class voters of his district.  And Biden campaigned for Lamb during Lamb’s successful 2018 bid for Congress, making a double-header appearance at a Carpenters union training hall and on the Robert Morris University campus. Biden’s more moderate politics also complements Lamb’s own middle-of-the-road approach to the 17th district, which consists of suburban Allegheny County and Beaver County, and which narrowly supported Trump in 2016.

Among Democratic voters, Biden has led the field of potential Trump challengers in both state and national polling. Polls have also shown him leading Trump in a general-election matchup.

Still, this weekend’s announcement was notable for the fact that all three Congressional representatives served in the military: Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, Lurie served in the Navy, and Lamb himself served in the Marines. Their joint statement of support comes just as tensions in the Middle East threaten to boil over after President Trump ordered a drone strike on Iranian general Qasam Soleimani.

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.