Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Trump 'says United States should consider death penalty for drug dealers'

Trump 'says United States should consider death penalty for drug dealers'

Democrats must flip 24 GOP-held seats to claim a House majority, and an upset will embolden them as they look to win in places where the party has lost ground in recent decades. Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's special election previous year to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Democrats held onto a House seat in California following Xavier Becerra's appointment to California attorney general.

Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone speaks during a campaign event on February 2, 2018, in Bethel Park, Pa.

Saccone has come out in favor of the tariffs, which are largely opposed by Republicans in Washington. Otherwise they're going to take away your taxes, your tax cuts. Although a plurality feel the tariffs will help the area's economy (43 percent say they'll help while 36 percent say they'll hurt), nearly all, 96 percent, say the decision hasn't affected their choice in the upcoming special election.

Trump praised other countries for imposing the death penalty or life in prison for drug dealers, saying the United States should consider similar penalties.

It might be legally possible to make more drug-related offenses capital crimes in the USA, but critics of harsher penalties for drug offenders point out that such a policy could backfire and worsen the epidemic.

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But that, by itself, hasn't given Saccone much traction against Lamb, who hails from an established Allegheny County political family and pitches himself as independent-minded. The Democrat is also a better fundraiser, having "outraised Saccone by a staggering margin - almost 500 percent".

Both Lamb and Saccone have countered the attacks.

US President Donald Trump has again called for enacting the death penalty for drug dealers during a rally meant to bolster a struggling Republican candidate for a US House seat here. "We need our Congressman Saccone, we have to have him", Trump said. "The president's support is key to attaining victory", Saccone told rally attendees about 45 minutes before Trump took the stage. Trump easily won the district in the 2016 presidential race.

Public polling ahead of the Tuesday election has shown Saccone neck-and-neck with Lamb, a former federal prosecutor and Marine. Outside GOP groups have spent more than $10 million, much of it to paint Lamb as a Pelosi lackey.

In 2016, every day an average of 175 people died of drug overdoses in the US. There are over 80,000 union members in the district, according to the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

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"This is clearly a race about candidate disparity", a Republican strategist involved in the race said Saturday.

"He's the first candidate I've ever put a sign in my yard for and volunteered for", said Bancroft, adding that she's worked two shifts a week for Lamb since meeting him in January.

Lamb is walking a tightrope in a district where the president remains popular.

Saccone has underwhelmed national Republicans, particularly with fundraising.

Lamb raised more than four times as much money as his opponent as of February 21, according to Federal Elections Commission documents.

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