Tags: danny oconnor | troy balderson | ohio | special election

Ohio Is Next High-Stakes Battleground

Ohio Is Next High-Stakes Battleground
Troy Balderson (AP/Ann Sanner)

Monday, 04 June 2018 08:42 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Ohio is set for an intense political battle on Aug. 7 as the next proving ground for Republicans in a special election that has been anything but predictable.

Republicans got a shock recently when a Public Policy Polling survey showed Democratic nominee Danny O’Connor edging Republican State Sen. Troy Balderson by 45 to 43 percent for Ohio's 12th District.

A victory by Franklin County Recorder of Deeds O’Connor would be devastating for Republicans.

Coming on the heels of the special elections for U.S. senator from Alabama last December and for the U.S. House in Pennsylvania’s 18th District in March, a Democratic win in Ohio would fuel the narrative that Democrats will not only win the 25 seats they need to take control of the House this fall but also win enough to give them a hefty majority in the next House.

For all but two of the last 80 years, Ohio's 12th has been in Republican hands — most recently, represented from 1982-2000 by present Ohio Gov. John Kasich and for the past 18 years by fellow Republican Pat Tiberi (whose resignation to take a lucrative private sector job triggered the special election).

Billing himself a moderate-to-conservative in the mold of Kasich and Tiberi, Balderson is running on his record as a supporter of the right to keep and bear arms and a force for Kasich’s successful effort to cut $5 million in taxes.

But Balderson did support Kasich’s budget that included funding for Medicaid expansion and thus expanded the Affordable Care Act — a move that is radioactive among most conservatives.

Balderson had to overcome a spirited primary race with nine opponents. By less than 800 votes out of more than 67,000 cast, Balderson eked out a win over runner-up Melanie Leneghan—Liberty Township Trustee and outspoken “Trump Republican.”

Assisting Leneghan in her campaign was the conservative Freedom Caucus in the House.

Clearly fearing the nomination of Leneghan, Defending Main Street, a super PAC linked with the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership, launched an independent advertising broadside branding the insurgent contender a “fake Republican.”

In addition, outgoing Rep. Tiberi deployed an estimated half-million of his remaining campaign funds on a TV blitz reminding voters he was endorsing Balderson.

“Ohio-12 will be watched if only because there aren't very many other elections to focus on at this time,” said Herb Asher, Ohio State University political science professor and author of three books. “But it will not be watched as closely as it would have been had Melanie Leneghan won the GOP primary. She is so far to the right that Democrats would have targeted this district in a major way. I actually think that Danny O’Connor would have won this contest.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.


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Republicans got a shock recently, when a just-completed Public Policy Polling survey showed Democratic nominee Danny O’Connor edging Republican State Sen. Troy Balderson by 45 to 43 percent for Ohio's 12th District.
danny oconnor, troy balderson, ohio, special election
Monday, 04 June 2018 08:42 AM
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