Looks like a narrow (yet big) victory for GOP in Ohio's 12th District race

Republican Troy Balderson appears to have eked out a narrow less than one-percent victory over Democrat Danny O'Connor in the special election for Ohio's 12th Congressional District seat.  Results from the State of Ohio, though still unofficial, show a GOP victory:

The 1,754-vote margin is 0.9% of the vote and not subject to an automatic recount under Ohio law.  Just over 3,000 provisional ballots remain to be counted but are not expected to change the outcome.  The two candidates will face off again in November.

Balderson's victory was important psychologically for Republicans; President Trump's late visit and speech, a heavy late ad buy, and a get-out-the-vote operation seem to have worked to get enough Republican voters in an R +7 district to show up to match enthusiasm by Trump-haters and motivated Democrats, many of whom voted early.

The race resembled the earlier special election in Georgia, where a similar late GOP effort carried Karen Handel to victory in another special election versus Democrat Jon Ossoff.  Many Republican incumbents and nominees in 42 open seat races now held by Republicans are at the moment being out-raised and outspent by Democrats.  Some political analysts rate as many as 70-80 GOP-held seats as vulnerable, with about a dozen similarly vulnerable Democratic-held seats.

It is not hard to see Democrats picking up the roughly 25 seats to gain control.  The congressional committees and outside groups may help some of these Republicans, but not many will get the amount of outside money that Balderson did, who was personally out-raised by O'Connor. 

It is better to win a close race than lose one.  There will be many similar nail-biters this year.  Control of the House will depend on whether one party wins most of the tight contests or they are split.  A split likely would be good enough for the Democrats to gain control, given the playing field and much greater number of competitive seats now held by Republicans. 

The good news is that there are still plenty of Republicans out there, and if they are motivated to vote, Republicans can survive a bad electoral environment.  Candidates focusing on what has gone right – the strong economic growth; the tax cuts; the deregulation successes; the foreign policy shifts, particularly on Iran and Israel; the military buildup; the newly appointed and approved judges and Supreme Court picks (especially if  Kavanaugh is confirmed) – have solid achievements to run on.  None of this occurs with a lame-duck President and a Congress run by Democrats.

Thomas Lifson adds: Close doesn't count, except in horseshoes, but expect the Dems to tout this as a moral victory and postulate that in November, districts less heavily populated by Republicans will turn over in favor of Democrats.  But I think the race here demonstrates that even in a special election, President Trump can turn out his base.  Midterm turnout normally is much smaller than presidential election years, but this tendency may be much, much weaker this time around.  I expect President Trump to campaign on protecting the economic growth his reforms have sparked.

Republican Troy Balderson appears to have eked out a narrow less than one-percent victory over Democrat Danny O'Connor in the special election for Ohio's 12th Congressional District seat.  Results from the State of Ohio, though still unofficial, show a GOP victory:

The 1,754-vote margin is 0.9% of the vote and not subject to an automatic recount under Ohio law.  Just over 3,000 provisional ballots remain to be counted but are not expected to change the outcome.  The two candidates will face off again in November.

Balderson's victory was important psychologically for Republicans; President Trump's late visit and speech, a heavy late ad buy, and a get-out-the-vote operation seem to have worked to get enough Republican voters in an R +7 district to show up to match enthusiasm by Trump-haters and motivated Democrats, many of whom voted early.

The race resembled the earlier special election in Georgia, where a similar late GOP effort carried Karen Handel to victory in another special election versus Democrat Jon Ossoff.  Many Republican incumbents and nominees in 42 open seat races now held by Republicans are at the moment being out-raised and outspent by Democrats.  Some political analysts rate as many as 70-80 GOP-held seats as vulnerable, with about a dozen similarly vulnerable Democratic-held seats.

It is not hard to see Democrats picking up the roughly 25 seats to gain control.  The congressional committees and outside groups may help some of these Republicans, but not many will get the amount of outside money that Balderson did, who was personally out-raised by O'Connor. 

It is better to win a close race than lose one.  There will be many similar nail-biters this year.  Control of the House will depend on whether one party wins most of the tight contests or they are split.  A split likely would be good enough for the Democrats to gain control, given the playing field and much greater number of competitive seats now held by Republicans. 

The good news is that there are still plenty of Republicans out there, and if they are motivated to vote, Republicans can survive a bad electoral environment.  Candidates focusing on what has gone right – the strong economic growth; the tax cuts; the deregulation successes; the foreign policy shifts, particularly on Iran and Israel; the military buildup; the newly appointed and approved judges and Supreme Court picks (especially if  Kavanaugh is confirmed) – have solid achievements to run on.  None of this occurs with a lame-duck President and a Congress run by Democrats.

Thomas Lifson adds: Close doesn't count, except in horseshoes, but expect the Dems to tout this as a moral victory and postulate that in November, districts less heavily populated by Republicans will turn over in favor of Democrats.  But I think the race here demonstrates that even in a special election, President Trump can turn out his base.  Midterm turnout normally is much smaller than presidential election years, but this tendency may be much, much weaker this time around.  I expect President Trump to campaign on protecting the economic growth his reforms have sparked.