Defying all odds, the much anticipated special election for Ohio’s District 12 is still too close to call. As of Wednesday morning, GOP candidate Troy Balderson leads the Democratic opponent Danny O’Connor by about 1,700 votes, less than 1 percentage point and well within the margin of error. Around 8,000 absentee provisional votes still need to be counted as well. To put this in perspective, Donald Trump carried Ohio District 12 by 11 points back in the 2016 presidential election. This is seat that has safely been in Republican hands for three decades.
The Columbus Dispatch details what comes next: the provisional votes and absentee ballots need to be counted within the next 10 days:
“Balderson currently leads by 1,754 votes. O’Connor needs to win 79 percent of the remaining 8,483 uncounted ballots to make up the deficit. Once that final total is calculated, Ohio law requires a mandatory recount if the margin is within 0.5 points.”
Trump supported Balderson and jumped the gun on this race taking credit for his “great victory” last night.
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 win BIG in Nov.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2018
"This race is too close to call. The margin is 1,700 votes. We have 8,000 votes yet to be counted. And we have an election in November. The fight continues."
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 8, 2018
Quoted in Politico, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said that the Ohio election results give him strong optimism about what’s to come:
“In 2016 the Republican who ran for this seat won it by over 30 points. Here we are, we have a dead heat today, a rematch in 90 days,” stated Perez. “This gives me optimism, not only about this seat but about other House seats, the U.S. Senate and governor’s races.”
So even if Balderson gets a razor-thin win, many are interpreting this election as a good omen for a blue wave in the November Midterms. The Washington Post cites two major takeaways from last night’s results:
- “Voters in Republican-leaning suburban districts are souring on Trump.”
- “Largely because of that, a wave that will sweep Republicans out of power appears to be building.”
Outside groups on the right outspent outside groups on the left by 500% in the special election in Ohio's 12th Congressional district just to get what looks like a 0.9% win in a district Trump won by 11 just 21 months ago and that a Republican hasn't lost for nearly 40 years
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) August 8, 2018
NPR goes one step further and claims that the “Trump Effect” could lead to a high turnout for the midterms pointing out that “there has been lots of energy, higher than in past years, and the Trump Effect could portend higher-than-usual turnout this fall.” For example, the voter turnout for the Ohio’s election was 37%, considerably high for a special election in a midterm year.
NBC News asked a voter who labeled himself a conservative why he voted the way he did the Ohio House special election. He answered that if Republicans weren’t going to put a brake on Trump, voters would vote for Democrats who would. https://t.co/Ul2627IABc pic.twitter.com/nPW8DKZDcl
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) August 7, 2018
Whatever the result of the Ohio-12 special election, Democrats have every reason to feel encouraged and more confident about their prospects in the midterms. Also note that even if Balderson wins this one, the same two candidates will compete against each other again in a few months.
Ohio's special election in 12th district is still too close together.
Two things to remember:
1. These two candidates will face off again in November.
2. Students will be back in colleges across the state.
— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) August 8, 2018