4 keys to watch in OH-12 tonight

It may be the doldrums of August, but there's a special election tonight in Ohio that could have major ramif...

Posted: Aug 8, 2018 10:21 AM
Updated: Aug 8, 2018 10:21 AM

It may be the doldrums of August, but there's a special election tonight in Ohio that could have major ramifications in the battle for the House majority this fall.

The race is in Ohio's 12th District, where state Sen. Troy Balderson, a Republican, is taking on Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor. On its face, the district should favor Republicans; Donald Trump and Mitt Romney won it in 2016 and 2012, and Republicans have held it for more than three decades.

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But all the data suggests this race is really close -- and according to data over the past month, Balderson is holding steady while O'Connor is trending upward.

One House race can't tell us everything the entire country is thinking -- obviously. (Charlie Cook makes that point here.) But it will tell us something about how both parties' messages are working and how base enthusiasm is playing out on both sides.

Below, four things to watch in tonight's voting:

1. Nancy Pelosi: The House minority leader has been at the center of Republican attacks in the final days of the race as outside conservative groups seek to link O'Connor with the unpopular California Democrat. O'Connor has fumbled somewhat on the question, struggling to get distance from the minority leader.  The GOP's Pelosi strategy worked like a charm in 2014 and 2010. But has its moment passed?

2. The Trump effect: President Trump visited the district on Saturday in an attempt to rally support for Balderson. Trump did the same in the Pennsylvania special election earlier this year but couldn't save Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone. But Trump has shown an ability to deliver Republican votes in GOP primaries. Can he do the same for Balderson in a general, special election format?

3. Suburbs: This is a suburban district, taking in the affluent suburbs of Columbus. (The median income districtwide is more than $66,000.) In 2016, Trump won suburban areas -- which made up 49% of the overall vote -- by 4 points. That's in keeping with the suburbs as the central battleground between the two parties. An O'Connor win tonight would suggest the suburbs might be swinging to Democrats.

4. Tax cuts cut who? In the wake of the passage of the Trump tax plan last year, congressional Republicans insisted they would be running hard in the midterms on putting more money in people's pockets. But it's Democrats who have seized the tax issue in this race -- arguing that Balderson's support for the Trump tax cut would contribute to hollowing out Social Security and Medicare. If it works, expect to hear a lot more about the tax cut issue -- from Democrats! -- in November.

The Point: This race isn't the end for the Republican majority if Balderson loses. But it's a step in the wrong direction.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 78632

Reported Deaths: 3113
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16437734
Lake7952283
Elkhart505191
Allen4161164
St. Joseph376683
Hamilton3033104
Vanderburgh212215
Hendricks1978109
Johnson1819119
Cass18139
Porter141539
Clark135250
Tippecanoe129312
Madison106266
LaPorte96730
Howard94865
Kosciusko87812
Bartholomew86747
Floyd86150
Marshall80523
Monroe78432
Vigo77913
Delaware77752
Dubois72912
Noble71729
Boone71646
Hancock70239
Warrick61230
Jackson6075
Shelby57328
LaGrange57110
Grant53330
Dearborn52828
Morgan50135
Henry46720
Clinton4624
Wayne41010
White38411
Montgomery36721
Harrison36524
Lawrence35927
Decatur35332
Putnam3318
Daviess29620
Scott28110
Miami2792
Jasper2662
Greene25934
Franklin25116
Gibson2464
DeKalb2444
Jennings23312
Ripley2218
Steuben2173
Carroll2135
Fayette2097
Perry18913
Orange18824
Posey1840
Starke1817
Wabash1805
Wells1802
Fulton1752
Jefferson1752
Knox1711
Sullivan1631
Whitley1626
Tipton15516
Washington1531
Clay1505
Spencer1403
Randolph1345
Huntington1303
Adams1242
Newton12110
Owen1131
Rush1004
Jay970
Pulaski841
Brown762
Fountain762
Pike670
Blackford662
Benton640
Ohio636
Vermillion620
Switzerland590
Parke581
Martin530
Crawford500
Union420
Warren251
Unassigned0207

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 106557

Reported Deaths: 3784
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin19287533
Cuyahoga14120523
Hamilton10001262
Lucas5609324
Montgomery4619101
Summit3749225
Butler310569
Marion295645
Mahoning2665259
Pickaway241142
Stark1947142
Warren191440
Lorain188477
Columbiana170461
Trumbull1598112
Fairfield147334
Delaware139219
Licking139053
Clark123516
Lake116343
Wood111558
Clermont100011
Medina98836
Miami89339
Allen84246
Tuscarawas80614
Portage78264
Greene76512
Mercer67613
Richland63512
Belmont62926
Erie62630
Madison58710
Ashtabula58246
Wayne58160
Geauga56445
Ross5285
Darke44230
Sandusky42117
Hancock4153
Huron4145
Ottawa40827
Athens3662
Lawrence3340
Holmes3326
Auglaize2888
Union2801
Muskingum2651
Scioto2651
Seneca2454
Jefferson2403
Shelby2344
Preble2302
Putnam22117
Knox2199
Washington21222
Coshocton1999
Champaign1922
Morrow1882
Hardin18312
Crawford1815
Clinton1806
Logan1742
Highland1712
Perry1693
Fulton1601
Ashland1593
Wyandot1589
Defiance1574
Brown1532
Williams1393
Fayette1270
Henry1252
Hocking1239
Guernsey1217
Carroll1155
Monroe9618
Gallia852
Pike810
Jackson790
Paulding740
Van Wert732
Adams682
Meigs660
Morgan320
Vinton322
Harrison261
Noble190
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