OH poll is a key test for Trump

Troy Balderson Danny O'Connor

In an election that was seen like a bellwether for the midterms, President Donald Trump called the OH special election for Republican Troy Balderson, but it's too close to call.

Troy Balderson, was fighting off a strong challenge from a fresh-faced Democrat, 31-year-old county official Danny O'Connor, in a congressional district held by the Republican Party for more than three decades. That's enough for O'Connor to potentially pick up enough votes to force a recount.

The seat in OH opened up after Rep. Pat Tiberi, was never even supposed to be in play.

But just as with other special elections in the 2018 cycle where Democrats waged a competitive race on red turf, from Alabama's Senate seat to Pennsylvania's 18th District, Republicans started to see danger signs as the election drew nearer.

In a special election season that featured almost a dozen congressional contests, Democrats claimed just a handful of wins, but they may have cause for optimism this fall.

And even as they celebrated victory, one of those groups warned it can't be duplicated across the map in three months if some Republicans don't up their efforts. O'Connor's campaign, which dominated the early vote and focused on turning infrequent voters to the polls, believes that it outperformed with this final pool of voters.

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President Donald Trump campaigned for Balderson, arguing Republicans need to control Congress and casting the midterms as a referendum on himself.

The script for Ohio's special election is perhaps familiar: An experienced Trump loyalist, two-term state Sen.

Michigan State Attorney General Bill Schuette won the Republican nomination for governor on Tuesday night, defeating three other candidates working to fill the seat to be vacated by conservative Gov. Rick Snyder.

"We're not stopping now", O'Connor said.

The margin remained within breathing distance of the 0.5% threshold required for a recount in OH, where the state's liberal provisional ballot laws mean that a number of ballots might still remain. The Ohio Republican had been considered by operatives to be an underwhelming candidate. Polls began to show a close race in July, and the GOP frantically dumped money and resources into the district to try to shore up Balderson.

Balderson leads O'Connor, 50.1% to 49.3%, with 99% of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press Provisional ballots remain to be counted, and it's possible the race could be headed to an automatic recount, which is triggered when the margin is within 0.5%.

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Missouri, Michigan, and Washington state are heading to the ballot box today.

"Now Troy wins a great victory", Trump wrote. Outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Snyder had backed Calley, but Trump is more popular there with the GOP base in the state.

Meanwhile progressive duo Sen. Bernie Sanders and NY congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who catapulted to fame when she defeated the No. 4 House Democrat in a June primary.

As for the Democratic primary, Gretchen Whitmer, a former legislative leader, won the party's nomination in the gubernatorial race.

The primary also is when the next congressman or congresswoman will effectively be chosen in two solidly Democratic U.S. House seats opening due to retirements, and when nominees will be selected for an open battleground district in suburban Detroit.

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