OH and Kansas races deadlocked, Democrats positive, Trump claims victory

Hannah Rogers
August 8, 2018

Republicans declared victory with Steve Stivers, the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, saying "I'm proud that my fellow central Ohioan, Troy Balderson, will join me in Congress" and congratulating him on a "hard-fought victory".

O'Connor's total of almost 100,000 votes far exceeded what the district's former Republican congressman Pat Tiberi's Democratic opponent got in 2014.

"Congratulations to Troy Balderson on a great win in Ohio". Ohio's 12th Congressional District, in the suburbs of Columbus, has had a Republican representative for 35 years, and has been largely in GOP hands since 1920. "Strong on Crime, Border & Military", the president tweeted on the eve of the election. Across the state, conservatives are challenging moderate Republicans and Democrats in a coordinated effort to reclaim legislative seats they lost two years ago.

The president also traveled to the district over the weekend in an attempt to give Mr. Balderson a boost.

The narrow margin will be little comfort for Republicans anxious about the prospect of a Democratic wave heading into the November 6 elections, and it is certain to encourage Democrats who performed dramatically better than expected in a district Republicans have represented since the early 1980s. It's an enormous amount of exposure for their party and we don't see that for the Republican party.

"We always knew this was going to be a close race, and while we don't know the results quite yet, I know that this campaign left it all on the field", O'Connor said in a statement Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, more than 700 miles to the west, Kansas Republicans were fighting among themselves in the battle for governor, where Secretary of State Kris Kobach was trying to unseat Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Balderson and Republicans claimed victory Tuesday night, but O'Connor did not concede the race.

A tight race in today's special congressional election in OH could signal trouble for Republicans in the midterm elections.

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Regardless, while Republicans were spared from headlines proclaiming another stunning Democratic win, it's a bad sign for the GOP that provisional ballots are even entering the discussion in a district Donald Trump won by 11 points in 2016.

Ohio Govenor John Kasich, a leading voice in the GOP's shrinking anti-Trump wing, once represented the district in Congress.

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

Mr Balderson and Mr O'Connor will have to fight the seat again in November.

At times, the race centred on Trump's tax cuts as much as the candidates.

According to data obtained by TIME, Balderson had only spent $507,206 on television ads as of August 3, while O'Connor had spent over $2 million. The Republican campaign arm and its allied super PAC were forced to pick up the slack, spending more than $4 million between them.

In Michigan, three mainstream Democrats in suburban Detroit were among those vying for a chance at retiring Republican Rep. Dave Trott's seat in November.

Republicans are scrambling to avoid an embarrassing defeat in a seat that the party has held for decades. "He will win BIG in Nov". "Congratulations to a future STAR of the Republican Party, future Senator John James", Trump tweeted.

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