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On Tuesday voters in the 12th Congressional District went to the polls to vote in a special election to send a new member of the Ohio delegation to Congress. With all precincts reporting Troy Balderson has unofficially won the district, however the race is far from being clearly settled.
The special election was called after, now former Congressman Pat Tiberi resigned in January to lead a business trade association in Columbus. The 12th district is comprised of Delaware, Licking and Morrow counties and parts of Marion, Muskingum, Richland and Franklin counties. The parts of Franklin County include suburbs of Columbus.
This special election has garnered national attention as it has been recognized as a litmus test for how the mid-term elections may go across the nation in November. Will voters use this election to express their support or disapproval of President Donald Trump and the current Congress? The campaigns lived up to the national attention and hype with a race that will come down to just a few thousand votes.
The 12th Congressional District has predominantly been held by Republicans for nearly a century except when a Democrat, Bob Shamansky held the office for one term in the 1980s. This seat was also held by Governor John Kaisch for nearly two decades. Tiberi has held the seat since 2001 until his resignation.
State Senator Troy Balderson and Franklin County Treasurer Danny O’Connor represented the Republican and Democratic parties respectively during this special election. Balderson garnered the support of both Governor Kasich and President Trump who visited the district the weekend before the election. O’Connor has run as a moderate Democrat trying to appeal to Republicans who may not be supportive of President Trump and he earned the endorsement of the Columbus Dispatch.
At the time of this publication, Balderson leads the unofficial vote count by 1,754. According to the Ohio Secretary of State there are 5,048 outstanding absentee ballots and 3,435 outstanding provisional ballots left to be counted. Balderson did claim victory on election night, but O’Connor has not ceded.
While this election is not yet settled, both candidates will square off again in November as this election was to only fill the term that ends at the end of this year.
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