Ohio House Special Election Too Close To Call: GOP Candidate Troy Balderson Leads By 1,754 Votes
A special election for Ohio’s 12th congressional district was considered still too close to call late Tuesday night, although as of Wednesday morning Republican candidate Troy Balderson appeared to hold a very narrow lead of 1,754 votes, or 0.9 percent.
Balderson, a 56-year-old Ohio state senator, earned 50.2% of all votes, while his 31-year-old Democratic opponent Danny O’Connor had 49.3%,, with 100% of precincts reporting. However, around 8,000 votes — like absentee ballots and provisional ballots — have reportedly yet to be counted.
The race is being held to fill the seat of GOP Rep. Pat Tiberi, who resigned to work in the private sector. President Donald Trump endorsed Balderson for the special election. Green Party candidate Joe Manchik earned 1,127 votes, or around 0.5 %.
The National Republican Congressional Committee declared victory for Balderson on Tuesday night. NRCC chairman Steve Stivers called Balderson “congressman-elect.”
“We went door to door and house to house, and we made our case for change,” O’Connor stated in a speech Tuesday night. “Tomorrow we rest, and then we keep fighting through November.”
In a tweet, Trump slammed O’Connor for being “weak on Crime, the Border, Military, Vets, your 2nd Amendment,” and for campaigning on ending tax cuts for the wealthy.
Ohio, vote today for Troy Balderson for Congress. His opponent, controlled by Nancy Pelosi, is weak on Crime, the Border, Military, Vets, your 2nd Amendment – and will end your Tax Cuts. Troy will be a great Congressman. #MAGA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2018
Should Balderson win, Democrats would still need 23 seats to flip the House of Representatives. The Republican candidate reportedly spent more than $5 million on television ads for his campaign to gain control of the Columbus-area district, which Trump won by 11 points in 2016.
Trump seemed to congratulate Balderson on winning the race in a separate tweet:
…..Congratulations to Troy Balderson on a great win in Ohio. A very special and important race!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2018
O’Connor reportedly sought to gain support from anti-Trump conservatives and independent voters, and pledged not to back Nancy Pelosi as House speaker.
On Tuesday, there was also a close race in Kansas. In the state’s GOP primary for governor, Trump-backed Kris Kobach — Kansas’s Secretary of State — and incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer appeared to remain tied in votes as of early Wednesday morning.