First-term representative Conor Lamb (D., Pa.) portrays himself as a moderate in his competitive Pennsylvania district. Yet he votes with members of the far-left "Squad" almost 90 percent of the time.
In his first two years since entering Congress, Lamb has voted with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) 88 percent of the time, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) 89 percent of the time, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.) 90 percent of the time, according to a vote tracking tool from ProPublica. Lamb's positions have garnered him endorsements from numerous left-wing groups, including Everytown for Gun Safety, Feminist Majority PAC, and JStreetPAC. All this belies the centrist image he projects to Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District, where Lamb is locked in a tight race against Republican Sean Parnell.
Lamb has publicly distanced himself from the far left on certain issues, especially the environment. He opposes the Green New Deal, which is highly unpopular in his district, and has gone against calls from Ocasio-Cortez to end fracking, a major industry in Western Pennsylvania. Liberal strategists and media alike have thus treated him as a model for Democrats running in tough races. "This moderate Democrat's model is being copied where it matters—in Trump territory," reads a headline from McClatchy in 2018. "Conor Lamb proves running as a moderate is a winning strategy," the Hill wrote that same year.
But Lamb's record tells a different story. He boasts a 100 percent rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and a 93 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign. Lamb also landed an endorsement from the gun-control group Everytown for Gun Safety while getting an "F" rating from the NRA's Political Victory Fund. His campaign has hauled in thousands from far-left groups, including End Citizens United, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Service Employees International Union.
"When you watch Conor Lamb on the campaign trail, in interviews, and in debates it's tough not to be reminded of one of those androids from the Alien movies," said Parnell campaign spokesman Ian Prior. "He has the slick, phony, programmed persona down to perfection when he's campaigning in Western Pennsylvania, but then when he gets back to Washington, D.C., he falls in line with his radical programmers and supports packing the courts, packing the Senate, and will ultimately roll over for the far-left special interests so he can get his next job at a high paying lobbying firm to end natural gas."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette endorsed Parnell Tuesday, noting the contrast between Lamb's moderate persona and his actual record. "He has shown almost no independence, distance, or skepticism," the publication wrote. "Labeling himself a moderate was smart marketing strategy, but not much more than that."
The race between Lamb and Parnell is considered one of the most competitive in the country. Pennsylvania's congressional map was redrawn in 2018, but President Donald Trump would have won the current district by 2.6 points in the last presidential election.
Lamb's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.