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The first special election of 2018 will feature Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb battling for a Pennsylvania congressional seat.

A recent Monmouth University poll has Lamb trailing Saccone by just three points in The Keystone State's traditionally red 18th district.

The much-anticipated March 13 election will be a major bellwether for the midterm elections later this year, according to former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D).

"If Conor Lamb loses by five points or less, the Democrats have picked up 15 percent since the presidential election, because President Trump carried the district by 20 points," Rendell explained on "Outnumbered Overtime" on Tuesday.

He said Lamb is a strong candidate in the Republican-leaning district, and if he makes it a tight race -- let alone if he actually wins -- it would spell "huge trouble" for the Republican Party.

Rendell pointed out that unlike the 2017 special election in Georgia between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff, this election has not been "nationalized" and Lamb has wisely maintained distance from controversial party leaders like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

"Conor Lamb has said he would not vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. He'd vote for someone else. Conor Lamb is pro-gun rights. Conor Lamb is pro-life," Rendell said. "He's a perfect candidate for the district."

He argued that Lamb is an example what direction the Democratic Party should go, with a "broader tent" and some candidates who aren't so far to the left on issues like reproductive rights and gun control.

"If Conor Lamb comes within five points, it's a big bellwether saying that Republicans are in for real trouble in November."

Watch more above.

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