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Vox Sentences: Republicans got fleeced in Pennsylvania

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Democrats have a very good day in Pennsylvania; the UK expels dozens of Russian diplomats after a former spy was poisoned.

Baaaaad night for Republicans

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • For the first time in 15 years, Democrats won in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, a stunning victory. [Vox / Ella Nilsen]
  • Democrat Conor Lamb beat Republican Rick Saccone in a special congressional election to replace former Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), who resigned last year after revelations that he had pressured a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair to have an abortion. [Washington Post / Mike DeBonis]
  • The race was still too close to call on Tuesday night. Just 627 votes separated Saccone and Lamb with 100 percent of precincts reporting by midday Wednesday, according to CNN. [CNN / Veronica Rocha, Brian Ries, Meg Wagner, and Amanda Wills]
  • In winning, Lamb did something that no Democrat was supposed to be able to. PA-18, along with the rest of the state’s congressional map, was drawn in such a way that made it nearly impossible for Democrats to win. The state’s new map, recently drawn by the state Supreme Court, is much friendlier to Democrats. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Lamb also proved something that’s destabilizing to President Donald Trump’s narrative: that a Democrat can win in so-called “Trump country.” Pennsylvania was one of the three Rust Belt states that helped deliver Trump the presidency in 2016. The fact that a district that voted for him by 20 points also went to a Democrat is a big blow. [Vox / Ella Nilsen and Tara Golshan]
  • Republicans dumped close to $10 million into the race and still lost. Democrats also spent millions but were vastly outspent by their GOP counterparts. [Vox / Tara Golshan]
  • It’s worth noting that Lamb has to run again in November ... in a completely different district, thanks to the new electoral map. [Philadelphia Inquirer / Jonathan Lai]

The UK and Russia are no longer playing nice

  • The fallout continues after a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned on British soil, with the UK expelling 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation. [NYT / Richard Pérez-Peña]
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to investigate the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a military-grade nerve agent, which bystanders were also exposed to. May said the nerve agent came from Russian sources. [Guardian / Peter Walker and Jessica Elgot]
  • The latest move from the UK is the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats in decades and marks a noticeable ratcheting-up in tensions between the two countries since the Cold War. [CNN / Laura Smith-Spark and Joshua Berlinger]

Russia poisoning spies on British soil is nothing new; the development is that the UK is starting to take action. A BuzzFeed News investigation found last year that British police had shuttered investigations into 14 suspicious homicides that Russia was suspected to be behind, for fear of retaliation from the Kremlin or the Russian mafia. [BuzzFeed / Heidi Blake, Tom Warren, Richard Holmes, Jason Leopold, Jane Bradley, and Alex Campbell]


  • Thousands of students walked out of school and marched to protest gun violence and Congress’s lack of action to stop it. See photos from demonstrations around the country. [NYT]
  • Canada’s currency is about to get a shake-up. When the new $10 bill comes out later this year, it will feature Viola Desmond, a civil rights pioneer, who will be the first black person and first non-royal woman to be featured on regular Canadian currency. [NPR / Heidi Glenn]
  • The South by Southwest festival looks a little different this year. Blame the reckoning around social media’s complicated role in our lives and our world. [The Verge / Casey Newton]
  • You can be banned from making returns at Sephora. And Best Buy. And Home Depot. And lots of other stores, for that matter. [Racked / Chavie Lieber]


“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” [Stephen Hawking, who died early Wednesday at age 76 / CNN]

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