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Troy Balderson officially wins special election for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District

August 24, 2018

Troy Balderson officially wins special election for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District

COLUMBUS, Ohio—After millions of dollars spent, a presidential visit, and a lengthy vote certification process, Republican Troy Balderson has become the newest congressman representing Ohio’s 12th District --  at least, for the next two months.

Balderson, a state senator from Zanesville, beat Democrat Danny O’Connor, the Franklin County recorder, by 1,680 votes, according to final vote totals from the Aug. 7 special election released Friday by elections officials.

Unofficial election-night totals showed Balderson with a slim 1,754-vote lead over O’Connor for the Republican-skewed district. O’Connor narrowed that margin slightly when provisional and absentee ballots were counted, thanks to support from Franklin County voters, but it wasn’t enough to change the outcome.

Joe Manchik, the Green Party candidate in the race, received a total of 1,165 votes, or 0.56 percent.

In a statement, Balderson said he was “humbled by the support I’ve received from voters” and looks forward to representing them in Washington.

“Danny O’Connor ran a hard-fought race, but I look forward to earning the support of voters for a fourth time in November as I share my track record of getting things done for Ohioans, including balancing the budget, cutting taxes and creating an environment for job creation,” Balderson said.

Balderson is expected to be sworn into office when the House reconvenes the first week of September. But he’ll only serve for about nine weeks before he has to face O’Connor again in the Nov. 6 general election.

O’Connor’s best opportunity to win the district may now be behind him -- Balderson’s now the incumbent, and O’Connor must now compete with dozens of other competitive Democratic House candidates for the sizable amount of campaign contributions he needs to unseat Balderson.

But Balderson’s narrow victory in a Republican-gerrymandered district literally designed for Democrats to fail in gives Democrats hope that O’Connor can close the gap in November, when additional left-leaning voters – including college students at Ohio Wesleyan and Denison universities – will turn out to the polls.

In an interview, O’Connor said his campaign is now focused on November, claiming his chances will only improve over August because – among other factors – left-leaning college students will no longer be away on summer break. He also voiced confidence that he’ll be able to raise the money he needs to compete.

“Give us three months to continue to sprint across this district to continue to talk to voters about issues that matter to them -- kitchen-table issues,” O’Connor said.

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