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Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb doled out nearly $100,000 in campaign cash to his brother to help lead his failed Pennsylvania Senate effort that a left-leaning strategist called “one of the worst campaigns” they’ve ever seen.
Lamb, a favorite among the liberal establishment in Washington, D.C., was soundly defeated by more than 30 points in Tuesday’s Democratic primary by Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a left-wing firebrand.
But while Lamb may have lost big in the primary, his brother came out on top: Coleman Lamb pocketed $94,000 from the Connor Lamb for Senate campaign as of mid-April to act as a senior communications advisor, a review of Federal Election Commission records shows.
This wasn’t the first time his brother has pocketed campaign cash. Before running for Senate, Lamb’s House committee dished out $122,465 to Coleman between May 2018 and December 2020, federal filings show.
Members of Congress are permitted to employ and pay family members from their campaign’s payrolls, although the practice is generally frowned upon by ethics experts. Lamb’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Lamb’s Senate attempt received backing from a wide array of establishment figures. The Philadelphia Inquirer called him the Democrats’ “best chance” of flipping the Pennslyvania Senate seat that Republican Pat Toomey will vacate as he retires from Congress.
However, following the blowout loss, Lamb’s campaign found itself in the crosshairs of Democratic strategists.
“It’s one of the worst campaigns I’ve ever seen run,” Mike Mikus, a Pittsburgh-based Democratic strategist, told McClatchy DC. “Strategically it’s been mind-boggling to watch this. They completely blew an opportunity…Conor should be the nominee and it’s the campaign’s fault.”
Many are now considering Fetterman’s victory a confirmation that voters are not interested in centrist or moderate candidates in the style of Lamb.
Fetterman, who backed Bernie Sanders in 2016, has been critical of Preside Biden and earlier this year initially turned down a chance to appear with the president, signaling his lack of support. More recently, he has begrudgingly said he would “embrace” Biden, though he still rails at the president’s stalled agenda.
“Seems like Manchin actually gave base Dems a useful model for understanding why ‘centrism’ sucks,” political commentator Krystal Ball tweeted Wednesday. “Voters told the [New York Times] they saw Conor Lamb as ‘another Joe Manchin.'”
Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate contest remains deadlocked. Mehmet Oz has garnered 31.2 percent of the vote, while Dave McCormick sits at 31.1 percent.
Fox News’ Timothy H.J. Nerozzi contributed reporting.