Ohio Democrat Danny O'Connor hasn't gone quietly into the night after losing an August 7 special election to Republican Troy Balderson by a razor-thin 1,680 votes. Instead, the Franklin County Recorder outraised the new incumbent $1.3 million to $357,000 in September. Balderson hasn't had much time to gain an incumbency advantage, and private polls show an extremely tight race for a full term.
Republicans are hopeful that a more robust November turnout helps Balderson and that Green Party nominee Joe Manchik continues to siphon O'Connor votes. But Democrats point out that O'Connor stands to gain new votes at Denison University (enrollment 2,200), a liberal arts college that wasn't in session in August. Special election turnout there was a tiny fraction of what it was in November 2016.
Now that GOP Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01) appears to have opened up a tiny lead in Cincinnati, the 12th CD in the northern Columbus suburbs may once again be Ohio Democrats' best opportunity to flip a GOP seat. Unlike in August, GOP outside groups don't have the luxury of focusing solely on this seat to help offset Balderson's cash deficit. The race moves from Lean Republican back to Toss Up.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File