A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Special election today to fill vacant 12th Congressional District in neighboring Ohio

Public News Service

A special election today in neighboring Ohio is drawing national attention as some experts say it’s a bellwether for President Donald Trump.

Voters will choose between Republican Troy Balderson or Democrat Danny O’Conner for the 12th Congressional District seat, left vacant by Republican Pat Tiberi who resigned in January. 



An assistant professor of Political Science at the University of Dayton, Christopher Devine, explains the Columbus-area district has traditionally been Republican-held and was won by President Trump in 2016. 

Vying for control of the U.S. House



”This is one where Republicans should win,” he says. “If, however, a Democrat were to win the race instead, it would be seen as an indication that Democrats are particularly strong this year, that there is a backlash against President Trump such that they might take at least the House in the November mid-terms.”

Democrats need to win 23 seats in the November mid-terms to regain control of the House.

 Polling from Monmouth University shows Balderson with a slight lead over O’Connor, which has some experts expecting a Democratic win.

However, Devine says predictions are not reliable for special elections like this.



What polling there is and what other indicators there are is such as early voting statistics seem to point to Democratic enthusiasm, and certainly it’s getting a lot of national attention and national money but it’s just really hard to tell who’s going to turn out, he adds.

Tiberi resigned in January, one year before the end of his term. Voters will be filling the interim seat today, and will then again vote in November to fill the seat for the next two-year term.



This collaboration is funded in part by Media in the Public Interest and the George Gund Foundation.

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One Comment

  1. SG says:

    I think the Democrats may just scrape this and unless Trump gets a major win between now and November, they should take the House too…

    I also think this may mean the Democrats try and get a centrist, male candidate for 2020…

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