MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki brought out the big board on Monday to provide a snapshot into the highly anticipated special election in Ohio’s 12th congressional district.
Tomorrow’s contest between GOP candidate Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O’Connor shouldn’t be close, but with Donald Trump hanging around the neck of every Republican, Kornacki says this Republican-leaning district could be on the verge of turning blue.
“This is a Republican district,” Kornacki explained. “(Ohio Governor) John Kasich, he used to represent it in Congress. In 2016, it went for Trump by 11 points.”
But in the era of Trump, Democrats have been gaining 10-11 points on average in special election contests – exactly what they would need to eke out an upset in OH-12.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) August 7, 2018
Kornacki explains how OH-12 is in the Democratic sweet spot:
This race has suddenly become a barn burner. It’s in the 12th district of Ohio, dead middle of the state, right around the Columbus area. Danny O’Connor, the Democrat, Troy Balderson, the Republican. We’ve got polls showing this thing dead even now. The backdrop, this is a Republican district. The 12th district of Ohio. John Kasich, he used to represent it in Congress. In 2016, it went for Trump by 11 points. In 2012, it went for Romney by 11 points. But if you have been following these special elections, you know Democrats have been able to make gains so far right around 10, 11 points on average in these House special elections.
The latest poll gives O’Connor a one-point lead
In a new poll released on Monday, Democratic candidate Danny O’Connor leads Republican opponent Troy Balderson by a single point. The race is essentially tied.
#OH12 TOO CLOSE TO CALL
— Emerson Polling (@EmersonPolling) August 6, 2018
In a district that went for the Republican presidential nominee by double digits in both 2012 and 2016, OH-12 shouldn’t even be in question for the Republicans.
But with Trump’s presidency falling deeper into chaos and his rhetoric becoming increasingly unhinged and dangerous, parts of the country that used to be reliably red no longer are.
It’s still anybody’s race in Ohio’s 12th congressional district, but the Republican Party’s panic about losing it is an indicator of just how much damage Trump has done to the GOP brand.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.