Republican Troy Balderson held a razor-thin lead over Democrat Danny O’Connor in the too-close-to-call special election for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District seat Wednesday morning thanks to the Herculean efforts of state and national Republicans.
The GOP’s massive push in an effort to hold a district that had been in the party’s hands for all but two of the last 80 years is sure to fuel a Democratic narrative that “a blue wave is coming in November.”
Along with an estimated $4 million spent by the National Republican Congressional Committee and several Republican-affiliated political action committees, Balderson, a state senator, benefited from campaign appearances from his party’s A-Team: President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who represented the 12th District in Congress from 1982-2000.
In remarks to Newsmax before the balloting, veteran political scientist Norm Ornstein predicted that “even a Democratic loss by one or two percentage points signals a wave for them in November.”
Ornstein expected a robust Republican turnout in the 12th –“not to just support the party but to keep the evil Democrats from winning.”
Republicans came on strong with its get-out-the-vote effort on Election Day.
“There was a lot of enthusiasm on the Democratic side about sending Trump a message,” Franklin County GOP Chairman Doug Preiss told Newsmax. “But the sentiment on our side was ‘We’ve got to keep this district in our hands!’ And that led to what was clearly a successful get-out-the-vote effort on Tuesday.”
Preiss also credited Balderson as “the right candidate and the right fit for this district.” Although he promised to work with Trump and Pence in Congress, Balderson is more a center-right Republican in the mold of Kasich and former Rep. Pat Tiberi, whose resignation to take a private sector job signaled the special election.
A strong supporter of the right to keep and bear arms and of Kasich’s budget cutting efforts, Balderson also supported Kasich’s budget that included funding for Medicaid expansion and thus the expansion of the Affordable Care Act — a move that is radioactive among most conservatives.
As to whether the outcome presages a Democrat wave, Priess used the language of the Ohio coal mines. He likened the race to coal miners sending a canary into a dangerous mine to determine if it has poisonous gas.
“I always said if this race is between one or two percentage points either way, there’s a canary in the coal mine because danger lies ahead,” Priess said. “There is definitely a canary in the coal mine.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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