Trump A 'Mixed Blessing'? Why Ohio's Squeaker Election Is A Win For Democrats Eyeing The House

A win is a win is a win. Unless it's the sort of win Republicans looked like they might eke out on Tuesday night in Ohio. The race remained too close to call Wednesday, with more than 99 per cent of votes tallied.

One way or another, political analysts say, the potentially devastating news for Republicans is this: The solidly red 12th congressional district is no longer dependable for the Grand Old Party, and neither are their chances of holding the House of Representatives in the fall midterm elections.

The squeaker outcome between Democrat Danny O'Connor and Republican candidate Troy Balderson could strengthen Democrats' resolve that they're on the verge of a "blue wave" to win a tsunami of seats and flip the lower chamber. It could also spell trouble when it comes to how closely the Republican party's candidates can afford to align themselves with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Balderson was leading O'Connor for a House seat in the special election by 1,700 votes Wednesday morning. Officials said a final result would only be announced after counting more than 8,000 provisional and absentee ballots.

The margin of victory is tiny enough, analysts say, to send Republicans into a panic over whether they'll lose the House come November, even as Asher predicted Republicans would spin the outcome positively.

"Republicans dodged a bullet tonight, but they have to find a way to match the Democrats' voter intensity going forward if they want to hold the House," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell wrote in an email.

"Some Republicans candidates might want to hold President Trump at arm's length, but running away from the president entirely is a fool's errand."

Read more from Matt Kwong at CBC News

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Analysis & Political Strategy