Democrat, a Mennonite, turns heads in heavily GOP House seat

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Democrat, a Mennonite, turns heads in heavily GOP House seat
Vice President Mike Pence, right, shakes hands with Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Pa., during a campaign event in Lititz, Pa., Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — Voters in Pennsylvania’s rolling dairy farms and Amish countryside have perhaps never seen a Democrat mount a competitive campaign for Congress — until now.

From all appearances, first-time candidate Jess King is giving freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker a fight to the finish in Tuesday’s election in this heavily conservative district.

Drawn by her Mennonite faith into non-profit anti-poverty work, King says she isn’t running against President Donald Trump. Rather, she’s trying to tap into issues where she and Trump voters can agree.

Smucker acknowledges the race is competitive. Last week, Vice President Mike Pence came to campaign for him and Smucker is airing attack ads that King says are full of lies about her.

Meanwhile, King’s endorsed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and emphasizes door-knocking and town halls.