WESTERVILLE (AP) — Two high-stakes elections that tested President Donald Trump’s clout and cost both parties millions of dollars were too close to call on Wednesday. Trump claimed victory in one nevertheless and proclaimed himself ‘5 for 5’ for Tuesday’s Election Day.
In battleground Ohio, the president took credit for Republican Troy Balderson’s performance, calling it “a great victory,” though the congressional contest could be headed to a recount. Democrats could also celebrate their strong showing in the district that has gone Republican for decades.
“We’re not stopping now,” Democrat Danny O’Connor told cheering supporters Tuesday night. Whoever is eventually declared the winner in the special election will take office immediately but only until the end of the year. The two men will face off again in November for the full 2019-2020 term.
But Trump declared unconditional victory, tweeting Wednesday, “As long as I campaign and/or support Senate and House candidates (within reason), they will win!”
He claimed to have helped five GOP candidates win, including Bill Schuette for Michigan governor, John James for Michigan Senate and Josh Hawley for Missouri Senate. “5 for 5!” Trump tweeted.
Though, as in Ohio, the Kansas primary for governor was too close to call.
With election officials halting the vote count Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Kris Kobach led incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer by fewer than 200 votes. It could be several days before all absentee votes are counted.
The day’s races in five states, like many before them, tested the persistence of Trump’s fiery supporters and the momentum of the Democratic Party’s anti-Trump resistance.
The results were helping determine the political landscape — and Trump’s standing within his own party — as the GOP defends its House and Senate majorities this fall.
If Balderson holds on in Ohio, Republicans will have won eight of nine special House elections since 2016, most in Republican-leaning districts.
In Ohio, the script for the special election was somewhat familiar this year: An experienced Trump loyalist, Balderson, was fighting a strong challenge from O’Connor, a fresh-faced Democrat in the state’s 12th congressional District, a Columbus-area suburban area held by the Republican Party for more than three decades. As voters were going to the polls, Trump said Balderson would make a “great congressman.”
The winner takes the seat previously held by Pat Tiberi, a nine-term incumbent who resigned to take a job with an Ohio business group.
There were at least 3,367 provisional ballots left to be reviewed. That’s enough for O’Connor to potentially pick up enough to force a recount.
The Associated Press does not declare winners in races subject to an automatic recount.
Troy Balderson, Republican candidate for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, speaks to a crowd of supporters during an election night party Tuesday in Newark.