Ohio special election — polls are closed
Polls are about to close in Ohio, where the 12th Congressional District’s voters will be filling the seat left vacant by Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi. Democrat Danny O’Connor facing is off against Republican state Senator Troy Balderson. The winner of the special election will serve out the remainder of Tiberi’s term until January.
Results are beginning to trickle in, although it’s too early to predict who will win. O’Connor is leading in early returns, as he was expected to do.
This central Ohio district isn’t a place where Democrats should be competitive, CBS News correspondent Ed O’Keefe points out. Mr. Trump won the 12th District by 11 points in 2016. Now, a 31-year-old Democrat has tightened the race for an open House seat that the GOP has held since the early 1980s.
O’Connor rallied his volunteers Monday. He’s facing Balderson, a state senator, who acknowledged “It’s going to be a tight race.” Balderson has earned endorsements from Mr. Trump and Vice President Pence.
Mr. Trump stumped in Ohio last week before heading to New Jersey for a working vacation, where he told the state’s supporters that they’re the “real elite.”
He praised Balderson for being the “total opposite” of O’Connor and derided the Democrat as a “Nancy Pelosi Liberal” who is “weak on crime and borders.”
To date, O’Connor has raised more money than Balderson this election cycle, CBS News’ Caitlin Conant points out. The Congressional Leadership Fund has spent $2.6 million in the race and the NRCC and DCCC have both invested money as well, with the NRCC spending almost $600,000 so far.
Salvanto: No “bellwether” out of special election
CBS News’ Elections and Surveys Director Anthony Salvanto reports that no single district on Tuesday is considered a “bellwether” – whatever ultimately happens on election night will not foretell November.
He adds that there’s already been a string of special elections in which Democrats have over-performed. Ohio’s 12th district shares a lot of the characteristics of places that are competitive in November, so it will be widely and correctly seen as a test case if it is close, or if the Democrat manages to pull an upset win.
Biden records robocall for O’Connor
Former Vice President Joe Biden lent his support to O’Connor’s campaign by recording a robocall in which he told voters they need a leader “like Danny who will stand up for working families,” according to Politico.
“Danny’s the only candidate on the ballot who will fight to lower the cost of health care, create good jobs and refuse to raise the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare. Electing Danny to Congress puts us one step closer to taking back the House and making sure we have leaders in Washington who will fight for our values — Ohio values,” Biden is heard saying in the recording.
Balderson insults part of his district
At a campaign event in Zanesville on Monday evening, Balderson attempted to gin up support in his hometown by disparaging Franklin County.
“My opponent is from Franklin County, and Franklin County has been challenging. We don’t want somebody from Franklin County representing us,” Balderson said. Franklin County encompasses a relatively small portion of the district, on the outskirts of Columbus. It is one of the most populous areas of the district, and less Republican than the other, rural counties. Around a third of the vote is expected to come from Franklin County on Tuesday.
O’Connor quickly seized upon Balderson’s comments. “Our district deserves someone who is going to represent all of us,” O’Connor wrote on Twitter, adding that Balderson “just made it crystal clear that’s not him.”
Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET.