Ohio’s 12th District has been held by a Republican since 1983. Representative Patrick Tiberi’s retirement has opened up the seat for the first time in 18 years and, this time, Democrat Danny O’Connor is giving the GOP some real competition – shifting the district from Safe Republican to Toss Up with a Cook PVI of R+7.
Interestingly, the magic number for Republicans in this district is 11. Trump beat Clinton by an 11 pt margin, Romney beat Obama by an 11 pt margin, and a JMC Analytics poll for the special election has shown Republican Troy Balderson beating O’Connor by…wait for it, 11 pts. Monmouth University’s poll shows a slightly closer race with a 9% margin, but also offers insights that, if taken to heart, could close the gap altogether.
Consider that Tiberi has won this district for the last 3 terms with margins from 27 – 40 pts. That’s quite different than the 11 pt (or less) margin we’ve seen for this special election and the Presidential candidates. This pattern suggests there is more going on than purely partisan voting in this district.
Polling data reveals that 21% are still undecided. Familiarity with either candidate is low as is interest in the election. The high victory margin that Tiberi enjoyed tells you familiarity is a big factor. Of those who are paying attention to the race, there doesn’t appear to be an enthusiasm gap – Republican and Democratic interest is neck and neck. That said, Republican turnout for the primary beat Democratic turnout by nearly 25,000.
So, what does all this mean? To win this seat, Democrats will need to turn out every vote. Democrats will need every available volunteer for door to door canvassing and phone banking. There are opportunities to volunteer for Danny O’Connor on his website. The next several days before the August 7 election will be critical. Those outside the area can help by contributing to his campaign, promoting him on social media or virtual phone-banking.
Danny O’Connor has a long history of service to his community, lifting-up the downtrodden and supporting small-businesses to help them flourish. He is committed to reaching across the aisle to pass legislation that will improve the lives of his constituents by expanding healthcare coverage and creating economic opportunity and jobs. He believes strongly in our public education system, wants to increase financial aid and make community colleges and trade schools to be accessible to everyone. He will combat climate change by creating new jobs in clean and renewable energy. Danny believes everyone should be able to exercise their right to vote and is committed to safeguarding voting rights, supporting automatic registration and fighting against the purging of voting rolls.
Danny O’Connor is right for Ohio and gives the Democrats another seat at the table to fight the GOP agenda. Troy Balderson says he wants to ‘balance the budget’ and is a fiscal conservative, yet clearly supports and defends Trump and wants to ‘build the wall’. The last thing we need is more hypocrisy and another Trump sycophant in Congress.