Ohio will host the cycle’s 10th and final pre-Election Day House special in four weeks, a contest with the potential to provide another momentum-building headline in Democrats’ majority chase.
But the battle for the Columbus-area 12th District between Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson and Democratic Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor will come at a time (Aug. 7, the heart of summer) when voters are vacationing—making an already difficult turnout operation for an off-schedule election that much more challenging.
A Monmouth University poll taken a month ago didn’t find the level of Democratic enthusiasm that the party will need a month from now to win in a district the last three Republican presidential nominees have carried by an average of 10 points. Balderson led the poll by that same margin.
The only reported outside spending since the May 8 primary has come from the Paul Ryan-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund, which has invested about $1 million on ads boosting Balderson’s profile and chipping away at O’Connor’s. Meanwhile, the Democrat is pushing a centrist message on TV, comparing himself to Gov. John Kasich and painting a pragmatic profile.
-- Kyle Trygstad