Conservative paper snubs new GOP congressman — for second time this year


The Columbus Dispatch, which tends to endorse Republicans, still thinks voters should kick Troy Balderson out of Congress in November.

For the second time in a matter of months, the conservative-leaning Columbus Dispatch is urging voters to reject the Trump-like agenda of Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH) and vote for Democrat Danny O'Connor to replace him in Congress.

While Balderson defeated O'Connor in a special election this summer to replace retiring Republican Pat Tiberi, that fight only covered the last few months of Tiberi's term.

Now Balderson and O'Connor have to face off again in the November general election — and Balderson hasn't managed to change the Columbus Dispatch's low opinion of him since taking office.

"We continue to view O’Connor, the Democrat, as the better choice, and we would like to see these two agree to debate so that 12th District voters can come to the same conclusion," the editorial board wrote.

Over the summer, the Dispatch was clear about its reasons for rejecting Balderson, notably his hardcore support for Trump.

"Balderson unabashedly supports President Donald Trump and declines to criticize other than to acknowledge not liking his tweets," the editorial board wrote in July.

Balderson hasn't even bothered to criticize Trump for praising violent Nazi protesters as "very fine people," using racist language to describe immigrants, and proudly endorsing an alleged child molester in an Alabama Senate race.

Balderson only narrowly won the August special election, even though the district supported Trump by 11 points in 2016.

But even though his district is clearly turning away from Trumpism, Balderson has voted for the Trump agenda each time he was able to.

On health care, Balderson favors repealing the Affordable Care Act, which would eliminate protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

A 2017 Republican attempt to dismantle the Obama-era health care law would have allowed insurance agencies "to charge people significantly more if they had a pre-existing condition like heart disease, cancer, diabetes or arthritis — possibly requiring people to pay thousands of dollars extra every year to remain insured," according to Politifact.

O'Connor, on the other hand, was praised by the Dispatch for his pledge to protect Social Security and Medicare from cuts, and for his "common-sense solutions to gun violence."

In the end, "one [candidate] supports a reasonable, thoughtful approach to addressing the important issues facing Congress and our country, and the other supports a president who uses tactics and pushes policies that this Editorial Board has denounced," the Dispatch said in July.

In the Dispatch's eyes, Balderson is still simply the wrong fit to represent Ohioans in Congress.