Pennsylvania GOP candidate Rick Saccone claims his opponents 'hate' Trump, U.S., and God

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By Vaughn Hillyard

ELIZABETH, Penn. — Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone on Monday evening asserted that his political opponents "hate" the president, the United States, and even God.

"They’re energized for hate for our president," said Saccone, standing alongside Donald Trump Jr. in a firehouse in this western Pennsylvania town. He continued, “Many of them have a hatred for our country. I’ll tell you some more — my wife and I saw it again today, they have a hatred for God.”

Related: Labor support could sway special election in Pennsylvania 18th congressional district

A new Monmouth poll released on Monday showed the GOP candidate trailing by six percentage points to Democrat Conor Lamb ahead of the Tuesday special election for the state's 18th congressional district. Donald Trump won the district by 20 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone at a campaign event in Elizabeth Township, Pennsylvania, March 12, 2018.Brendan McDermid / Reuters

Saccone, a state representative, is looking to replace disgraced former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, the Republican congressman who resigned after having an affair and allegedly urging his mistress to have an abortion.

Related: Here’s why Tuesday’s race in Trump Country is so competitive

Earlier on Monday, Saccone dismissed the Monmouth poll. “I don’t put much credence in it,” he said. “Everywhere I go, it’s 100 to one for Rick Saccone. So I’m ready.”

Trump Jr. told the roughly 100 supporters in attendance that more candidates like Saccone are needed.

“We need guys like Rick Saccone to be in there fighting with my father,” Trump Jr. said.