Aug. 8 (UPI) — Republicans claimed a slim victory for a congressional seat in Ohio’s 12th district in a special election in what had been a GOP stronghold for decades.
Republican candidate Troy Balderson had 50.2 percent of the vote, compared to 49.3 percent for Democratic candidate Danny O’Connor as votes were still being tallied late Tuesday night.
Balderson claimed victory at around midnight, but O’Connor had yet to concede. And in Ohio, a voting result with less than a .04 percent difference triggers an automatic recount.
If Balderson remains ahead, he will take over the seat that was vacated by Rep. Pat Tiberi, who quit to work in the private sector.
But Balderson’s hold on the seat could be short-lived. Tuesday’s results showed Democrats made great strides in a district in which President Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 11 percentage points in 2016, and the party, which needs to win a net gain of 24 seats to take back the House, will get another chance in November.
Trump, who campaigned for Balderson in recent days, took credit for the victory before it was official.
“When I decided to go to Ohio for Troy Balderson, he was down in early voting 64 to 36 [percentage points],” Trump said. “That was not good. After my speech on Saturday night, there was a big turn for the better. Now Troy wins a great victory during a very tough time of the year for voting. He will win BIG in Nov.”
Four other states had primary elections on Tuesday.
In Kansas, numbers in the Republican primary for governor were too close to call late Tuesday night. Trump-backed candidate Kris Kobach was slightly ahead of incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer, 40.8 percent to 40.5 percent.
On the Democratic side, Laura Kelly won the Democratic primary with 50.3 percent of the vote.
In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer won the Democratic nomination for governor with 51.6 percent of the vote, easily beating back a challenge by progressive Democrat Abdul El-Sayed.
Whitmer will go on to face Bill Schuette, who took the Republican nomination with 50.9 percent of the vote.
Incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow ran uncontested in her party’s primary and will go on to face John James, who won the Republican nomination with 55.2 percent of the vote and was backed by Trump.
“Congratulations to a future STAR of the Republican Party, future Senator John James. A big and bold victory tonight in the Great State of Michigan — the first of many. November can’t come fast enough!” Trump tweeted.
In Missouri, incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill easily won her primary with 82.5 percent of the vote. She will go on to face Josh Hawley, who took the GOP nod with 58.6 percent.
On the congressional side, Democratic incumbent Rep. William Lacy Clay beat back a spirited primary challenge from St. Louis politician Cori Bush, who had backing from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Despite Bush’s buzz, she only received 36.3 percent of the vote, compared to Clay’s 57 percent.
And in Washington, which has a top-two system, meaning the top two vote-recipients, regardless of party, will face each other in the general election, Democratic incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell took a convincing 55.4 percent of the vote. She will face Republican Susan Hutchison in November.