Editor's Note

Editor’s Note: Some thoughts on Conor Lamb

And why first impressions can be deceiving

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb talks with students at Muhlenberg College on Sunday, April 3, 2022.

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb talks with students at Muhlenberg College on Sunday, April 3, 2022. Marco Calderon

My first impression of Conor Lamb – prior to meeting him – was that he looked like the kind of guy who probably irons his socks, sings in the church choir and has never jaywalked in his life. But after watching him debate, I developed a level of respect for him I didn’t have before. At the recent U.S. Senate Democratic candidates’ debate at Muhlenberg College, co-hosted by City & State, Lamb was cool, confident and quick-witted. When his sole opponent, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta of Philly – Lt. Gov. John Fetterman dodged the debate – hurled accusations at him for voting with Republicans, Lamb defended himself by saying that his voting record aligned more with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s than with Donald Trump’s. 

Beyond Lamb’s performance on the debate stage, his career in public service and the military also impressed me. At age 33, he pulled off a razor-thin upset in 2018 in a special U.S. House race in Pennsylvania in a Trump-dominated district in the western part of the state. He went on to win two more races – the general election later that year and reelection in 2020.

I respect that he served our country as a Marine and that he supports the Second Amendment. I also like that he claims to understand the needs of farmers and working-class people who believe that fracking is necessary to keep energy in Pennsylvania sustainable and accessible – and to improve the state’s fortunes overall. 

I sure hope this note doesn’t come across like I am fawning over Lamb – because I’m not. I simply have a better appreciation of how important it is not to judge a book by its cover.