Republicans are celebrating. Democrats are cautious. No major media outlet is declaring a winner and neither is the Ohio Secretary of State.
Ohio’s 12th District Special Election is in pause mode.
The race between Democrat Danny O’Connor and the Trump-annointed Troy Balderson (R) hinges on 5,048 absentee ballots and 3,345 provisionals in a squeaker that should cause a collective shiver among Republican National Committee members.
As of 5:30 am Wednesday, the unofficial results at the OH Secretary of State website show Balderson ahead by 1,754 votes with all 591 precincts reporting. At issue are the 8,893 uncounted votes, which by Ohio law, will not be counted for another ten days.
Four of the five counties in the Congressional district – Delaware, Licking, Marion, Morrow, Muskingum and Richland – voted overwhelmingly for Balderson. Only Franklin county, home of Columbus, went for the Democrat with a whopping 65.01% margin of victory.
Balderson claimed 50.15% of votes. O’Connor won 49.29%. The Green party candidate sliced votes with a consequential .56% of ballots cast.
The special election was an assumed Republican victory and held to replace an open term that expires on January 3, 2019.
The 2016 presidential election mirrored the votes of last night. Hillary Clinton won Franklin county while Trump captured the other four counties in the Congressional district, going on to win Ohio’s electoral votes. Ohio, a deep red state, went blue six years ago for Barack Obama in a razor-thin win of three percentage points.
Regardless of the final victory of Ohio’s 12th, both candidates will compete again in a few short months for the full term.