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Calling Balderson-O’Connor race: Darcy cartoon

August 9, 2018

Calling Balderson-O’Connor race: Darcy cartoon

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The election results for the Ohio 12th district race between Troy Balderson and Danny O’Connor have grown even tighter after many news networks determined the race too close to call.

Wednesday evening, Democrat Danny O’Connor gained 190 votes in Franklin County. The gain shrinks Republican Balderson’s lead to 1,564 votes.

About 3,500 provisional ballots remain to be counted.  It’s possible O’Connor may not pick up enough votes to win outright, but enough to trigger an automatic recount.   Ohio law calls for a recount if the difference between to candidates is less than half a percentage points.

Ultimately, a recount between Balderson and O’Connor will occur win the two face off again in November for the midterm elections.

The race wasn’t too close to call for President Trump, who patted himself on the back in a tweet for delivering a victory for Balderson.

“When I decided to go to Ohio for Troy Balderson, he was down in early voting 64 to 36.  That was not good.  After my speech on Saturday night, there was a big turn for the better.  Now Troy wins a great victory during a very tough time of the year for voting. He will will BIG in Nov.”

Trump did show some restraint by not declaring Balderson’s victory was as YUGE as his Inauguration crowd.

Kasich repeats claim that Balderson did not invite Trump

On MSNBC Wednesday, Governor John Kasich said when he asked Balderson why the heck he invited Trump to speak, Balderson said he didn’t invite Trump.  Kasich made the same claim Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

In several interviews Kasich repeated his talking points that the race should never have been this close and that suburban women turned off by Trump made it so.

“This district is so Republican, there should never even have been an election here.  And it was so close and-- in one of the counties that’s so solidly Republican - where a Republican would normally win by 70 percent, it broke basically 50-50.

So, some Republicans sat at home, but what I think happened, and we don’t have all the numbers yet, I think you will find a lot of Republican women who not only didn’t sit at home, but a significant percentage, or some percentage of them voted for the Democrat,” Kasich told CBS News

“Suburban women in particular here are the ones that are really turned off.  It’s really kind of shocking because this (special election) should just be a slam dunk and it’s not,” Kasich said in another interview.

Are Kasich and Pelosi more responsible for Balderson’s lead than Trump?

Delaware County accounted for more than 3 and 10 Balderson votes, higher than Trump earned in the county. Because of those results, Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report credited Kasich’s late endorsement with having a greater impact than Trump’s visit.

O’Connor’s hemming and hawing over whether he would support returning Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker, when asked in an interview with Chris Matthews, was also mentioned by voters as one of the reasons they voted against him.

Some Hollywood celebrities blamed Green party candidate Joe Manchik for costing O’Connor a victory.  Manchik received 1,127 votes.

Trump impact

The fact that it’s debatable whether or not Trump helped or hurt Balderson would suggest he may not have been a deciding factor, or that the pro-Trump and anti-Trump motivated votes canceled each other out.

A county breakdown of the votes do mirror a pattern seen in the 2016 election. Balderson did better in rural areas and O’Connor did better in the suburbs and areas closer to Columbus.

Bad Omen for GOP

Overall, the election results provide a bad omen for Republicans heading into the midterms.  

If the Democrats came a little over 1,000 votes from flipping a seat held by Republicans since 1982, how will Republicans fare in keeping seats in Congressional districts that are not Republican strongholds?

This election does give both Balderson and O’Connor, and their parties, a preview of what they must do to shore up support and gain new votes in the November elections.

Ohio isn’t Republican Red or Democrat Blue, it’s been Trump Orange, but the 12th District race proved that’s beginning to fade.

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