Backed Republican leads close US House race in Ohio

Glen Norman
August 8, 2018

Although the race was still too close to call, Mr Trump claimed victory and took credit for the Republican's success.

With 100% of precincts reporting, Balderson had received 101,574 votes, or 50.2 percent, while the Democrat Danny O'Connor had received 99,820 votes, or 49.3 percent of the vote.

Republicans focussed on mobilising their voters through negative advertisements portraying the Democratic candidate as a puppet of coastal elites while the Democrats' messaging centred on protecting access to healthcare and social security. "Strong on Crime, Border & Military", the president tweeted on the eve of the election.

O'Connor said in a speech Tuesday that he's ready to go on to November, where he and Balderson will run again. His campaign spent $2.25 million on advertising compared to Balderson's $507,000, according to campaign tallies of ad spending.

A win by O'Connor would show that some of the GOP's most familiar attack lines may not prove salient any longer come November.

But it's a bad sign for Republicans that they keep having to fight this hard to hold onto seats that are normally slam dunks for their party.

"I'm just exhausted of the rhetoric of 'They're the bad guys, we're the good guys, "' said Moffitt, 29.

Kansas Republicans were fighting among themselves in a battle for governor, where Secretary of State Kris Kobach was trying to unseat Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Mr Trump won the 12th Congressional District in 2016 by more than 11 percentage points and Republicans have held it since 1983.

Democrat Danny O'Connor, the Franklin County recorder, center, speaks to volunteers and supporters at his campaign headquarters on Tuesday.

But the fact that this race was even competitive to begin with casts doubt on Republican prospects of staving off that outcome.

The Ohio district includes numerous suburban women and college-educated, affluent residents that polls show have been the sort of voters turned off by Trump's chaotic first 19 months in office.

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

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

O'Connor has dominated Balderson on the local airwaves. Three mainstream Democrats were among those vying for a chance at retiring Republican Rep. Dave Trott's seat in November. The field included Fayrouz Saad, who would be the first Muslim woman in Congress.

But the Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders-backed Abdul El-Sayed's bid for MI governor fell short, CNN projects, as the establishment favorite, former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, nabbed the Democratic nomination and a November date with Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette.

"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.

Trump-endorsed Iraq veteran John James has won the Republican Senate primary in Michigan, CNN reports.

The day after Trump's appearance, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a prominent GOP critic of Trump, said he asked Balderson if he invited Trump at all into the district in the Columbus suburbs - the sort of area where Republicans have lost voters who rebelled against Trump in previous special elections.

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