Ohio could play role in Democrats’ plans to retake US House
WASHINGTON — For Democrats, the magic number this year is 23.
Not because it’s Michael Jordan’s or LeBron James’ number, but because Democrats need to gain 23 seats to win the House majority for the first time since 2010.
With weeks to go, they’re bullish: More than 70 Democrats around the country out-raised the Republican incumbents they are challenging last quarter, and so-called “generic” polling gives an advantage to Democratic candidates.
In Ohio, at least two U.S. House seats are very much in play, and although Democrats are raising money in Ohio — six Democratic challengers out-raised the Republican incumbents last quarter — the districts as drawn are fairly safe for incumbents, said Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
“The Ohio House map is designed to elect 12 Republicans and four Democrats,” he said. That’s the current split, “and that’s probably what you should expect at this stage.”
But Democrats say they’re excited in particular about their chances in the 1st District, which is in and near Cincinnati, and in the 12th District in central Ohio, where Rep. Troy Balderson, a Republican, eked out a win over Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor, a Democrat, in an August special election to serve the final four months of Republican Pat Tiberi’s term. The two are battling again, this time for a full two-year term starting in January.
Although Democrats envision better pickup opportunities in House races in states such as Minnesota, New York, Iowa and New Mexico, they see Ohio as providing an opportunity to seal their majority.
“If Democrats can get a net gain of one out of Ohio, they would be in pretty good shape,” said Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of Inside Elections. “If they’re netting two or three out of Ohio, I think they’ve got the majority in their hands. If they don’t get any in Ohio, there might be a real fight for the House.”