Wednesday, August 08, 2018


Despite what you may have heard, Republican Troy Balderson's lead over Democrat Danny O'Connor in the OH-12 special House election is now greater than the number of votes won by Green Party candidate Joe Manchik:

Balderson's lead is 1754 votes. Manchik won 1127. So far, it's not true that the Greens cost the Democrats this one.

Once provisional ballots are counted, that could change. But even if the margin narrows to a smaller number than Manchik's total vote, I still won't be as angry as I was in November 2016 or November 2000.

Winning this one would have been great (and it's still theoretically possible). But this wasn't a critical victory. It's nothing like a presidential election. All by itself, it was never going to flip party control of the House. And even though they may have won, it's still a gut punch to Republicans.

Do you know what percentage of the vote the Democrat got in this district in the 2016 House race? It was 29.8%. Granted, the Republican was an incumbent, Patrick Tiberi. But still -- 29.8%. This is nearly a 20-point gain for Democrats in the district. If Democrats overperform that way (or even half as much) across the country in November, they've got the House.

And there'll be a rematch between these two guys in the same district in November (no, I don't know why Ohio bothered with a special election three months before a scheduled general election). By November, if Balderson is declared the winner in this election, he may represent a party that's shut down the government. Democrats could win this seat then.

In 2016, the Green candidate (it was Manchik then, too) got 3.6% of the vote; this year, he got only 0.6%. I wish the decline had been even greater -- but I feel better about the Democrats' chances in November than I did a week ago, and this election is why.

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