Republican Troy Balderson Has The Edge On Democratic Opponent In Ohio Congressional Special Election That’s Too Close To Call

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

Republican Troy Balderson had a margin of a little more than 1,700 votes in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District special election Tuesday evening, but Democrat Danny O’Connor had not conceded as of Tuesday night in the race that is still too close to call.

Balderson and Republicans have claimed victory with 50.2 percent of the vote, a lead of 0.9 percent, in the special election as of Tuesday night’s count. 

O’Connor received 49.3 percent of the vote, according to the New York Times. The Democrat was ahead when the early votes rolled in, but he and Balderson traded off being in the lead all night.

President Donald Trump congratulated Balderson on Twitter Tuesday night even though the race had not been called.

“Congratulations to Troy Balderson on a great win in Ohio,” Trump wrote. “A very special and important race!”

O’Connor called for a recount on Twitter Tuesday night although Balderson’s margin was above 0.5 percent, which would have meant an automatic recount.

The Democrat must take “79 percent of the remaining 8,483 uncounted ballots to make up the deficit,” reported the Columbus Dispatch Wednesday.

“Folks, our race is too close to call,” O’Connor wrote on Twitter. “And now we’re entering what could be a long and expensive recount.”

Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi retired early, triggering the special election. Balderson, who is also a candidate in the November general election, will serve through the end of Tiberi’s term in January, reported CNBC.

President Donald Trump endorsed Balderson via Twitter on July 21.

“Troy Balderson of Ohio is running for Congress against a Nancy Pelosi Liberal who is WEAK on Crime [and] Borders,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Troy is the total opposite, and loves our Military, Vets [and] 2nd Amendment. EARLY VOTING just started with Election Day on August 7th. Troy has my Full [and] Total Endorsement!”

Trump held a campaign rally with Balderson in Lewis Center, Ohio, Saturday. Vice President Mike Pence had also traveled to Ohio to campaign for Balderson on July 30.

Balderson, 56, who has been an Ohio state senator since 2011, beat 31-year-old Franklin County Recorder O’Connor.

O’Connor portrayed himself as a centrist to appeal to the voters in his district, which is on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio, and is “wealthier and better-educated than the median congressional seat,” reported CNBC.

Republican Party-linked groups like the Congressional Leadership Fund spent $2.4 million to back Balderson, while about $280,000 in outside spending was used to back O’Connor, reported CNBC. (RELATED: Democratic Senate Candidate Vows To Fight Her State’s Rising Health Care Costs She Helped Create)

Democrats longed for an O’Connor victory as a sign that they will get the blue wave they have been working toward in November’s general elections. O’Connor would be the first Democrat to represent the district since 1982.

Trump had won the district by nine percent in the 2016 presidential election, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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