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The race between Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., and Republican challenger Sean Parnell is being seen in some circles as a bellwether for whether President Donald Trump wins the state and a second term in the White House.
Pennsylvania is a critical battleground state that was prominent in Thursday night’s final presidential debate, as Trump successfully baited 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden into acknowledging that he’d work to close down the oil industry.
When pressed by Trump if he would close down the industry, Biden replied, “By the way, I have a transition from the old industry, yes.”
The state of Pennsylvania has extensive fossil energy resources. It is the third-largest coal-producing state in the nation in 2018, and it was the second-largest coal exporter to foreign markets. Pennsylvania is second only to Texas in estimated proved natural gas reserves.
When President @realDonaldTrump asks Joe Biden if he would close down the oil industry.
Joe Biden responds: “yes”
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) October 23, 2020
Parnell is running against Lamb to represent the 17th congressional district, which encompasses Beaver County and parts of Allegheny and Butler counties. As noted by Fox News, Beaver and Butler counties went for Trump in 2016. Allegheny County, which includes the city of Pittsburgh, went for Hillary Clinton.
Smokey Mackey, a constituent in the district, was critical of how Lamb is easily led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I didn’t like the way Lamb has been following Pelosi around so much,” Mackey said, according to Fox News. “I would like to see him do something on his own; start using your imagination.”
She cited the economy under Trump as a contributing factor.
“If I’m living well, it means the country is doing well,” Mackey said. “If I’ve got money in my pocket it means everybody’s got some money in their pocket. I watch the economy.”
Parnell is a former Army Ranger and decorated combat infantryman with the elite 10th Mountain Division, who took part in 485 days of fierce fighting on the Afghan-Pakistan border.
He has also been endorsed by Trump,
Sean Parnell is a Star. We need him in Washington to Drain the Swamp! https://t.co/6j8wGaYELH
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2020
The GOP candidate responded to Thursday night’s debate by elevating the voices of those impacted the most by the decisions politicians make.
One such social media user said, “When Trump took office I saw more ‘Made in the USA’ stencils on pipe & fittings. Good paying oilfield jobs, a lot of people were proud we were energy independent & business that were dependent on oilfield workers were starting to thrive again.”
— Sean Parnell (@SeanParnellUSA) October 23, 2020
Another voice shared by Parnell was from a retired pipefitter who stressed that the Obama/Biden administration “killed our industry,” resulting in “big lay-offs.”
— Sean Parnell (@SeanParnellUSA) October 23, 2020
As President Trump said during the debate, Biden acknowledging that he would close down the oil industry was a “big statement.”
And while the corrupt liberal media in the tank for the Democrat brushed the remark off, social media users were savvy enough to understand the potential implications — for Trump and Parnell.
Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:
“I’m going to end the oil industry.” – Joe Biden. Hello, Pennsylvania? Hello, Texas?
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) October 23, 2020
Trump just got Biden to say he wants to end the oil industry. Wild.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) October 23, 2020
— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) October 23, 2020
Trump steadily pummeled Biden throughout the debate, but it was Biden punching himself in the face by finally admitting he would end the U.S. oil industry that could have the biggest impact on votes in key states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) October 23, 2020
The most masterful part of Trump’s performance during the debate was when he steered Biden into admitting he’d shut down the oil industry, and as a bonus he made sure to put it in the context of Pennsylvania.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) October 23, 2020
Biden is executing his chances in Pennsylvania by saying he wants to get rid of the oil industry. #debates
— Steve Milloy (@JunkScience) October 23, 2020
Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure you can’t win Pennsylvania or Ohio if you say you’ll destroy the oil industry
— Rogan O’Handley 🇺🇸 (@DC_Draino) October 23, 2020
Decent chance that Biden’s vow to destroy the US oil industry costs him Pennsylvania and the election.
— Kyle Smith (@rkylesmith) October 23, 2020
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