Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb looks to hold onto his House seat against Republican Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District

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  • Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb will face Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District.
  • The district is located in western Pennsylvania in the Pittsburgh suburbs and exurbs, and is home to all of Beaver County.
  • Parnell is a decorated veteran and Army Ranger and has been awarded two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.
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Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb will square off in November against Republican challenger Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District.

The candidates

Lamb is a veteran in the US Marine Corps Reserve and an attorney. He later became a federal prosecutor in the Department of Justice's Pittsburgh office in Pennsylvania's Western District.

In 2017, Lamb was chosen as the Democratic nominee for a special election in the state's 18th Congressional District after Republican Rep. Tim Murphy resigned following an alleged extramarital affair. Lamb narrowly defeated Republican Rick Saccone by fewer than 500 votes.

In 2018, after the state's congressional map was redrawn under a court order, Lamb chose to run in the 17th Congressional District, where he defeated Keith Rothfus. In Congress, Lamb serves as the Vice-Chair of the House Committees on Veterans Affairs and is on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He's focused his time in Congress on veterans' issues and economic issues facing Western Pennsylvania, including bolstering the steel industry. 

Parnell is a veteran of the US Army where he was an Army Ranger. In 2006, Parnell was wounded in a firefight and was forced to medically retire from the military. He was awarded a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars.

He is the co-founder of the American Warrior Initiative, a veterans advocacy organization. Parnell's campaign platform is centered around strengthening border security and picking pro-life judges for the US court systems. Parnell was endorsed by President Donald Trump and recently spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention.

The district

Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District is located in western Pennsylvania along a small part of the state's southwestern border outside of Pittsburgh. It is home to all of Beaver County, much of Allegheny County, and a small portion of the southwestern tip of Butler County.

The state's congressional map was redrawn in 2018 after the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled that the state's previous congressional map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans. 

According to the Daily Kos, Trump would have carried the district under its current boundaries by two points, 49% to 47%, over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The money race

According to the Center for Responsive Politics and Federal Election Commission filings, Lamb has raised $3.6 million, spent around $2.7 million, and has about $1.1 million in cash on hand while Parnell has raised $3.1 million, spent around $2.5 million, and has about $624,000 in cash on hand. 

What experts say

The race between Lamb and Parnell is rated as "leans Democratic" by the Cook Political Report and "likely Democratic" by Inside Elections and Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

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