As final votes come in for Ohio’s 12th congressional district, the tight race between Democrat Danny O’Connor and Republican Troy Balderson has gotten even closer.
Franklin County election officials found 588 previously uncounted votes in a Columbus suburb, giving Balderson 198 more votes and O’Connor an additional 388, which tightens the race’s margin to 1,564. Green Party candidate Joe Manchik received the remaining two.
“The votes from a portion of one voting location had not been processed into the tabulation system,” the Franklin County Board of Elections said in a statement.
Balderson declared victory Tuesday night, leading with 101,574 votes, or 50.2 percent of the total vote. O’Connor won 49.3 percent and had then trailed by less than 2,300 votes.
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The race in the longtime Republican district, where President Donald Trump won by 11 points in the 2016 presidential election, may hinge on 8,483 absentee and provisional ballots that haven’t been counted yet.
If final results show a margin of 0.5 percent or less, state election officials will hold an automatic recount.
O’Connor’s campaign tweeted about the votes, asking for donations going forward.
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“We just netted 190 VOTES from Franklin County! We’re confident DANNY WILL WIN once ALL the votes are counted, but we spent EVERYTHING we had on the Special Election. Please donate $5 to make sure EVERY LAST VOTE is counted fairly,” the tweet said.
Republicans said going forward the party cannot bail out candidates who are being out-funded by the other party.
“While we won, this remains a very tough political environment, and moving forward, we cannot expect to win tough races when our candidate is being outraised,” said Corry Bliss of the Congressional Leadership Fund.
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Democrats, though, are also frustrated — saying the national party made little effort to compete financially with the Republicans, who outspent Democrats 5 to 1.
“Why they would be saving their money is beyond me,” said Mary Anne Sharkey, a political consultant near Cleveland who has worked with both parties.
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