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Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Democrat Conor Lamb has beat out Republican Rick Saccone by a razor-thin margin of 627 votes — with some provisional ballots still outstanding — in last night's special election in Pennsylvania's 18th district. The NRCC is hoping to challenge the results.

The numbers behind the race, from the fundraising totals to past Republicans' support, provide more insight into how we got here.

The key takeaway: "Candidates cannot get out-raised 5-to-1 and expect to be competitive in 2018," said a national Republican operative. "Saccone was a god-awful candidate."

The cash:

  • $3.9 million raised by Lamb.
  • $600,000 raised by Saccone.
  • $2.6 million spent by outside Democratic groups to support Lamb.
  • $10.7 million spent by outside Republican groups to support Saccone.

The margins:

  • 20 points was Donald Trump's margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
  • 17 points was Mitt Romney's margin over Barack Obama in 2012.
  • 11 points was John McCain's margin over Barack Obama in 2008.

The polling, per Monmouth University:

  • A 49-49 split among voters in the district on approval for President Trump.
  • 42% for both Republicans and Democrats on the congressional generic ballot.
  • A 44% favorability rating for both parties.

The rest of the country:

  • 114 GOP-held seats are more competitive than PA-18, based on Cook Political Report's partisan voting index.
    • R+11 was the Republican advantage in PA-18. Other Republican districts with big name incumbents have even narrower margins. A sampling from around the country — Paul Ryan: R+4; Pete Sessions: R+5; Devin Nunes: R+8; Steve King: R+11; and Mark Meadows: R+14
  • More than 60 candidates running for Congress in the DCCC's targeted races "who are veterans, national security experts, CIA officers, job-creators and trusted elected leaders in their communities," per a DCCC release.

One more thing: This worthy chart from G. Elliot Morris at The Economist that shows "the drop-off in GOP votes relative to Democratic turnout ... the single biggest issue for them going into November 2018."

Go deeper

Sidewalk robots get legal rights as "pedestrians"

"We’ve got about 1,000 of them running around out there," Ryan Tuohy of Starship tells Axios. Photo courtesy of Starship Technologies.

As small robots proliferate on sidewalks and city streets, so does legislation that grants them generous access rights and even classifies them, in the case of Pennsylvania, as "pedestrians."

Why it matters: Fears of a dystopian urban world where people dodge heavy, fast-moving droids are colliding with the aims of robot developers large and small — including Amazon and FedEx — to deploy delivery fleets.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
32 mins ago - Economy & Business

The biggest obstacle to a wealth tax

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Taxing the rich is an idea that's back. An "ultra-millionaire tax" introduced by Elizabeth Warren and other left-wing Democrats this week would raise more than $3 trillion over 10 years, they say, while making the tax system as a whole more fair.

Why it matters: New taxes would be a necessary part of any Democratic plan to redistribute wealth and reduce inequality. But President Biden has more urgent priorities — and Warren's wealth tax in particular faces constitutional obstacles that make it a hard sell.

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.