Tight Ohio Vote Could Spell Trouble for GOP This Fall

Clay Curtis
August 8, 2018

In November, Republicans will be defending over 70 seats that are considered more favorable for Democrats and will not have those advantages.

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".

The races, like dozens before them, pit the strength of the Republican president's fiery coalition against the Democratic Party's anti-Trump resistance.

A special election that tested U.S. President Donald Trump's clout and cost both parties millions of dollars in battleground OH was too close to call late Tuesday.

But the GOP candidate in the race, Troy Balderson, is a Trump supporter who recently welcomed President Trump at a town rally this weekend.

Balderson also had several stumbles.

"A loss tonight would be devastating for the GOP - it should not be this close", Republican pollster Frank Luntz said in a tweet.

It's election day, as voters in Ohio's 12th District decide the final congressional contest before November's national midterms. Pat Tiberi resigned to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable.

Both major parties were prepared to spin the outcome of a narrow Republican win, with the GOP to hold it up as proof that voters have not soured on President Trump, and Democrats touting how Mr. O'Connor narrowly captured a seat in a reliably red district that Mr. Trump won by 11 points in 2016 and Republicans have held since 1983.

Mr. Balderson and other Republicans claimed victory late Tuesday night, though no news organizations called the race and there remained an unknown number of provisional ballots still to be counted. Once they are tallied, an automatic recount would be triggered if the margin of results is within 0.5 percent.

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Balderson and O'Connor will reprise their race in the general election in just three months.

"We're not stopping now", O'Connor said. "America is on the right path, and we are going keep it going that way".

The Ohio district includes numerous suburban women and college-educated, affluent residents that polls show have been the sort of voters turned off by Trump's chaotic first 19 months in office.

Cook writes Democrats likely don't need to win the 1st District - or any of the others in "blue tsunami" territory - to take back control of the House of Representatives. All 435 House seats, 35 of 100 Senate seats and 36 of 50 governors' offices are up for grabs in November.

The two races will garner the most national attention on a day when four states hold primary elections: Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington.

The Democratic race for governor in MI tested the electoral power of the party's progressive wing.

El-Sayed, who in the general election could have been in line to become the nation's first Muslim governor, fell to fellow Democrat Gretchen Whitmer.

Kansas Republicans were fighting among themselves in a battle for governor, where Secretary of State Kris Kobach was trying to unseat Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Trump didn't seem anxious about Kobach's prospects.

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