WASHINGTON – Voters in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District today will cast ballots in a special election contest whose outcome could foreshadow which party controls the House of Representatives next year.
Recent polls show Republican State Sen. Troy Balderson and Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor, a Democrat, virtually tied.
The Columbus-area district has not been represented by a Democrat since 1983.
Balderson is supported by both President Donald Trump and Republican Gov. John Kasich. Kasich represented the district from 1983-2001. Trump won the district by 11 points in 2016.
O’Connor does not appear to have secured many high-profile endorsements but his campaign has been aided by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The DCCC spent more than $238,000 in pro-O’Connor televisions ads last month.
Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi vacated the seat in January to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable.
Democrats would need to pick up 23 seats to retake the House.
The party is hedging its bets on centrist candidates like O’Connor who appear to be competitive in suburban and rust-belt districts won by Trump.
Earlier this year Democrats celebrated the special election victory of Rep. Conor Lamb in a Pittsburgh-area district Trump won by more than 20 points. Lamb, who is pro-life and pro-Second Amendment, defeated an outspoken Republican supported by Trump.
Washington, Kansas and Michigan hold primaries today.
The outcome of Missouri’s Senate primaries is expected to result in a general election contest between Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, and Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican.
Recent polls show Hawley with a slight lead.
Missouri is a reliably Republican state. Trump won Missouri by nearly 20 points in 2016.
The GOP has a razor-thin majority in the Senate. However, this year’s political landscape is not favorable to Democrats.
Republicans are defending nine seats. Democrats are defending 25 seats.