An August special election for a congressional seat Republicans have held for decades isn’t the kind of thing that would usually draw any interest from GOP leaders at the national level. But with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Vice-President Mike Pence, and even President Trump showing up in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District in recent days, it’s obvious that Republicans are very concerned about losing Tuesday’s special election, the last before voters head to the polls in November.
The congressional seat has been vacant since January, when nine-term congressman Patrick Tiberi resigned. President Trump won the district in the Columbus suburbs by 11 points in 2016, but Tuesday’s election is a toss-up. A month ago, a Monmouth University poll had
Troy Balderson, a 56-year-old Republican state senator, leading his opponent by ten points. But a Monmouth poll released Wednesday showed Danny O’Connor, the 31-year-old Democratic candidate, trailing Balderson by only one point. As the Washington Post notes, when you dig a bit deeper into the polls, there’s even more bad news for Republicans:
O’Connor supporters are 16 percentage points more likely to say they have a lot of interest in this election than Balderson’s.