Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Ohio's 12th congressional district special election too close to call

Crystal ball time Where are we headed politically Getty Images
Charlie Simmons | 08 August, 2018, 10:56

So, as Republicans like Ohio Gov. John Kasich - a vocal critic of Trump - pointed out prior to Election Day, the sheer fact that the race is so close should strike fear in the hearts of GOP operatives.

An O'Connor victory in the race to succeed retired GOP congressman Patrick Tiberi, in a wealthy suburban district that has voted Republican for decades, would be a massive shot in the arm for Democrats seeking to take back the House.

Voters in OH and Kansas joined those in Missouri, Michigan and Washington state.

The script for Ohio's special election is perhaps familiar: An experienced Trump loyalist, two-term state Sen.

The victor fills the seat previously held by Pat Tiberi, a nine-term incumbent who resigned to take a job with an OH business group.

Mr Trump won the 12th Congressional District in 2016 by more than 11 percentage points and Republicans have held it since 1983.

The Republican made a prominent gaffe on election eve, telling voters in his rural hometown of Zanesville: "We don't want somebody from Franklin County representing us".

In the Republican primary for Kansas governor, Trump on Monday endorsed Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state known for his crusade for restrictive voting laws, over incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Earlier in the week, Vice President Mike Pence campaigned for Balderson in Newark. "A very special and important race!"

Republicans appeared to have held off a Democratic surge on Tuesday in a traditionally conservative OH district many Democrats had hoped would serve up an unlikely victory and boost their chances of sweeping wins in November's midterm elections. That's enough for O'Connor to potentially pick up enough votes to force a recount. Flynn, 43, said he didn't care for the mudslinging on either side of the campaign.

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The race also received extra national attention due to President Donald Trump's involvement, as he endorsed Balderson and stumped for the Republican candidate in OH last weekend.

On if the midterm elections are unlikely to be like 2010: I mean I'd be surprised if they lost half as many seats as they won in 2010, mostly because Republicans don't have as much exposure. "America is on the right path, and we are going keep it going that way".

His opponent's campaign was described by some analysts as "not serious".

Cory Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican-aligned SuperPAC, said: "While we won tonight, this remains a very tough political environment and moving forward, we can not expect to win tough races when our candidate is being outraised".

Republican outside groups spent more than $5 million combined to salvage Balderson's prospects in the race after he was vastly out-raised by O'Connor. Trump claimed House Democratic leader "Nancy Pelosi controls Danny O'Connor, whoever the hell that is".

"A Republican loss well might tell us more".

And Kobach - who publicly backed Trump's false claim that millions of people voted illegally in 2016 and who advocates a hard-line approach to immigration - could alienate Republican voters in areas like the Kansas City and Wichita suburbs. Whoever wins will have to defend their seat again this November. He suggested the race may foretell a Republican "red wave" in November.

On Twitter, Trump called Kobach a "strong and early supporter of mine".

To win, Balderson will need to unite Republicans who love the president and those who prefer the governor. "That was not good", the president tweeted. Brent Welder, meanwhile, was leading the Democratic primary in Kansas' 3rd Congressional District. He will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx/Queens) saw their chosen Michigan Democratic gubernatorial-primary candidate, Abdul El-Sayed, lose.

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