Backed Republican leads close U.S. House race in Ohio

Backed Republican leads close U.S. House race in Ohio

Backed Republican leads close U.S. House race in Ohio

Tuesday's special congressional election in OH was the final direct face-off between Republicans and Democrats before the November mid-terms.

With all precincts reporting, Balderson, an OH state senator who closely linked himself to President Trump - appearing with him at a rally last weekend - held a 0.9 percent lead over O'Connor, a county recorder and moderate Democrat.

Trump visited Ohio's 12th District on Saturday and appeared on stage with Balderson at a rally created to jolt conservatives into turning out to vote in an election that will gauge where the Republican Party stands less than three months before the midterms.

A special election that tested U.S. President Donald Trump's clout and cost both parties millions of dollars in battleground OH was too close to call late Tuesday.

O'Connor, a local county official, tried to project a moderate image, saying he would support new Democratic leadership in Congress and work with Republicans but also criticizing the Trump tax cut. However, while Balderson's performance was far weaker than past Republicans in the district, he held on to just enough of his base to win.

The big take away from the GOP's apparent narrow victory in the Ohio-12 special election on Tuesday night is this: Buckle up, because both parties are going to go all out over the next three months to maintain control of the House of Representatives.

Republican outside groups spent more than $5 million combined to salvage Balderson's prospects in the race after he was vastly out-raised by O'Connor.

The night before the rally, Trump took to Twitter to attack LeBron James, calling the National Basketball Association star dumb just days after James, an OH native, poured tens of millions of his own dollars into the opening of an innovative public school in Akron.

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Meanwhile, more than 700 miles to the west, Kansas Republicans were fighting among themselves in the escalating battle for governor, where Secretary of State Kris Kobach was trying to unseat Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Trump didn't seem anxious about Kobach's prospects.

Cory Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican-aligned SuperPAC, said: "While we won tonight, this remains a very tough political environment and moving forward, we can not expect to win tough races when our candidate is being outraised".

Provisional votes are unlikely to topple the count over to the Democrat's side, but news outlets were reluctant to call the election. Whoever wins will have to defend their seat again this November. He appeared equally uncomfortable answering questions from reporters about whether Trump's appearance might blunt the impact of the recent endorsement from a prominent Trump adversary, Republican Gov. John Kasich. Republicans have controlled the district for 35 years. O'Connor had raised almost $1.5 million and had spent $1.35 million, but had vastly outspent Balderson when it came to television advertising.

The five-way Democratic primary featured labor lawyer Brent Welder, who campaigned recently with self-described democratic socialists Vermont Sen.

According to CNN's Eric Bradner, there are roughly 70 House seats held by the GOP which are less conservative than Ohio's 12th District - considerably more than they would need.

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