OHIO RACE TOO CLOSE TO CALL
OHIO RACE TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Trump still claims victory in state’s special election
A special election that tested President Donald Trump’s clout and cost both parties millions of dollars in battleground Ohio was too close to call late Tuesday.
Trump took credit for Republican Troy Balderson’s performance, calling it “a great victory,” even though the contest could be headed to a mandatory recount. The Democratic candidate, meanwhile, vowed: “We’re not stopping now.”
The candidates were locked in a razor-thin contest at last count. There were at least 3,367 provisional ballots left to be reviewed. That’s enough for Danny O’Connor to potentially pick up enough votes to force a recount.
The Associated Press does not declare winners in races subject to an automatic recount.
The Republican president’s shadow also loomed over primary contests in four other states, none bigger than Kansas, where Trump roiled the governor’s race by opposing the GOP incumbent on the eve of the election.
The day’s races, like dozens before them, pitted Trump’s fiery supporters against the Democratic Party’s anti-Trump resistance. The results helped determine the political landscape – and Trump’s standing within his own party – just before the GOP defends its House and Senate majorities in November.
Voters in Kansas, Missouri, Michigan and Washington state joined those in Ohio in Tuesday’s voting.
In Ohio, the script for the special election was somewhat familiar: An experienced Trump loyalist, Balderson, was fighting a strong challenge from O’Connor, a fresh-faced Democrat, in a congressional district held by the Republican Party for more than three decades. In an election morning tweet, Trump said Balderson would make a “great congressman.”
The winner takes the seat previously held by Pat Tiberi, a nine-term incumbent who resigned to take a job with an Ohio business group.
Trump himself campaigned at Balderson’s side just 72 hours before Election Day, a weekend appearance to help energize his loyalists in a district the president carried by 11 percentage points.
Several voters casting ballots in suburban Westerville Tuesday, both Democrat and Republican, said they saw little difference between the candidates.
Mike Flynn, a hospital unit coordinator from suburban New Albany northeast of Columbus, voted for Balderson as a show of support for Tiberi. Flynn, 43, said he didn’t care for mudslinging on either side of the campaign.
But Trevor Moffitt, a public health doctoral student at The Ohio State University who voted for O’Connor, said he felt Balderson’s attacks on Democrats went too far.
“I’m just tired of the rhetoric of ‘They’re the bad guys, we’re the good guys,’” said Moffitt, 29.
“I want to see someone who’s interested in working with the other party so we can actually get something done.”
It’s unclear how much Trump’s support helped or hurt Balderson. Described by campaign operatives as a “Whole Foods” district, the largely suburban region features a more affluent and educated voter base than the typical Trump stronghold.