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The American Independent

Vulnerable GOP congressman's chances downgraded again in deep red Ohio

Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH) is being out-campaigned by Democrat Danny O’Connor.

By Dan Desai Martin - October 19, 2018
Troy Balderson

Without the dark money Republican groups that helped prop Troy Balderson up in his last congressional race in Ohio, the brand new congressman and Trump loyalist is now struggling against the determined energy of Democratic challenger Danny O’Connor.

For the second time in a week, election experts downgraded Balderson’s chances of holding on to the seat he has occupied for less than two months.

Cook Political Report moved the race from “Lean R” to “toss-up.” O’Connor’s unrelenting energy was mentioned as one of the reasons, alongside his massive fundraising haul.

“Ohio Democrat Danny O’Connor hasn’t gone quietly into the night after losing an August 7 special election to Republican Troy Balderson by a razor-thin 1,680 votes,” writes Cook’s political expert David Wasserman. “Instead, the Franklin County Recorder outraised the new incumbent $1.3 million to $357,000 in September.”

National organizations, which poured $8 million into the August special election, have practically vanished as Republicans across the country struggle against dozens of stellar and well-funded Democratic challengers.

At the same time Republican groups are abandoning Balderson, he’s also being thoroughly out-campaigned by O’Connor.

Wasserman isn’t the only observer to note O’Connor’s dogged determination.

“The sudden show of complacency from everyone but O’Connor has some political watchers scratching their heads,” reports Roll Call. Roll Call spoke to Paul Beck, a longtime campaign observer.

Beck said that O’Connor’s dad recently came knocking on his door, canvasing for his son. Beck said he expected Republican groups to be paying more attention to this Columbus suburb, but that’s just not what is happening.

“If I were a Republican strategist, I would be worried,” Beck told Roll Call. “Here might be a district that, because they weren’t attending to it, might slip from their grasp.”

In addition to his hustle, O’Connor once again nabbed the endorsement from the traditionally conservative Columbus Dispatch. While the paper praised O’Connor for his common-sense ideas, it also slammed Balderson for “unabashedly” supporting Trump and refusing to “criticize other than to acknowledge not liking his tweets.”

In his short stint in Congress, Balderson voted with Trump on an extension of the unpopular Republican tax scam. The bill would lavish massive tax breaks on the wealthiest one percent, paid for by adding trillions of dollars to the national deficit.

While Balderson delivers for Trump, O’Connor is busy traveling around the district meeting with and listening to residents.

“We’ve talked to people in every place you can think of,” O’Connor told Roll Call. “At Buckeye games, at Friday night football games, at diners, at their doorstep, in their churches.”

No wonder election experts are giving this race another look, and moving their expectations in favor of O’Connor.

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