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President Donald Trump lashed out at the press in the Rose Garden for not giving sufficient coverage to a congressional special election victory by a Republican candidate in northeastern Pennsylvania.
"We had an election for Fred Keller, who was a 50-50 shot, and he won in a landslide," Trump said in the hastily arranged news conference May 22.
Keller, a Republican state representative, did win in a landslide — by a 68-32% margin over Penn State professor Marc Friedenberg. But Keller’s chances of winning were not rated 50-50 before the election — not by a long shot.
After Keller’s victory, Fox News reported, "Tuesday's result is no surprise, as the 12th District is solidly Republican and voters there backed Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election by a margin of better than 2 to 1 over Democrat Hillary Clinton."
Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales, one of the nation’s major political handicappers, rated the contest Solid Republican, the safest category on his rating scale.
In addition, Politico reported that "the race drew little attention from national Democrats."
The seat became vacant when Republican Rep. Tom Marino resigned from Congress in January after winning by a 32-point margin in November 2018. He said he would be taking a private-sector job.
Trump said Keller "was a 50-50 shot" before his landslide victory.
Keller was running in a deeply Republican district and was considered by independent political analysts to be the prohibitive favorite. He was not someone running in a coin-flip race. We rate the statement False.
Donald Trump, remarks in the Rose Garden, May 22, 2019
New York Times, Pennsylvania election results, accessed May 22, 2019
Fox News, "Pennsylvania Republican Fred Keller projected to win special House election," May 21, 2019
Roll Call, "3 things to watch in Pennsylvania’s 12th District special election," May 21, 2019
Politico, "Republican Keller wins Pennsylvania special election," May 21, 2019
Roll Call, "Two weeks after being sworn in, Tom Marino announces resignation from Congress," Jan. 17, 2019
Roll Call, "Republican Fred Keller wins Pennsylvania special election," May 21, 2019
Email interview with Thomas J. Baldino, political scientist at Wilkes University, May 22, 2019
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