Democrat O’Connor has lead in early OH returns

Saul Bowman
August 8, 2018

Democratic challenger Danny O'Connor is critical of both Republicans and Democrats. Heading into the vote, the Republican candidate in a long-held conservative district had a slim one-point lead over the Democrat contender.

He had pulled ahead in one poll, despite the district leaning heavily Republican, with no Democrat having been elected to Congress from there in more than 30 years. Check back for updates throughout the evening as votes are counted.

Four minutes later, at 11:01 pm eastern, President Trump declared victory.

Trump endorsed Kobach, Kansas' secretary of state, on Monday.

Unlike the last special election in Pennsylvania, where the Democratic candidate Conor Lamb outraised Rick Saccone 3 to 1, Balderson was better suited to take on O'Connor financially, although he was still operating at a deficit.

A hotly-contested OH special congressional election is going down to the wire, with Democrat Danny O'Connor and Republican Troy Balderson locked in a tight race.

If you intend to vote in today's primary, you will need to either already be registered as a Republican or Democrat or declare a party affiliation at the polling place. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the newest socialist star, made several endorsements in Tuesday's primaries.

Also in the race: Native American attorney Sharice Davids and former school teacher Tom Niermann.

But it isn't entirely clear if Trump's support will ultimately help or hurt Balderson on Tuesday.

"Voters in Ohio's 12th Congressional District picking a new congressman", King said on CNN's "Inside Politics". It's an enormous amount of exposure for their party and we don't see that for the Republican party.

Balderson told supporters in OH: "I'd like to thank President Trump".

Democrats, meanwhile, have been attacking Balderson by casting his support of tax cuts as threats to Social Security and Medicare.

The pro-Balderson effort has focused largely on motivating Republican voters by casting O'Connor as extreme. The Republican campaign arm and its allied super PAC was forced to pick up the slack, spending more than $4 million between them.

The special election will fill the seat vacated by Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R), who is retiring. The field included Fayrouz Saad, who would be the first Muslim woman in Congress.

But political observers said the fact the race was so close in a district that Democrats have not held since Ronald Reagan was president was notable.

Senate contests in Missouri and MI will come into focus as two vulnerable Senate Democrats, Missouri's Claire McCaskill and Michigan's Debbie Stabenow, are expected to easily claim their party's nominations. President Trump came out against the sitting GOP governor on the eve of that state's vote.

Gretchen Whitmer, left, won Michigan's Democratic nomination for the state's gubernatorial primary on Tuesday night.

"Josh Hawley has established himself as a conservative champion for Missouri families, and we have no doubt he will beat Claire McCaskill this November", said Chris Hansen, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

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