Ohio Congressional Race Too Close to Call, But Trump Claims Victory - NBC New York
President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

The latest news on President Donald Trump's presidency

Ohio Race Too Close to Call, But Trump Claims Victory

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

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Ohio Congressional Race Too Close to Call, But Trump Claims Victory
    Justin Merriman, Scott Olson/Getty Images
    Republican Troy Balderson (left) and Democrat Danny O'Connor speak at their election night parties for the Aug. 7, 2018, Ohio special congressional election.

    What to Know

    • The special elections in Ohio and Kansas primary for governor were both too close to call Wednesday.

    • Trump-backed candidate for the Ohio House race, Troy Balderson, currently holds a narrow lead over his opponent, Danny O'Connor.

    • There were races in five states held Tuesday.

    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!"

    Trump Escalates Criticism Against Sen. McCain, 7 Months After His Death

    [NATL] Trump Escalates Criticism Against Sen. McCain, 7 Months After His Death

    President Donald Trump again lashed out against the late Arizona senator saying, “’I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be.” The comments came after he tweeted more scorn over the weekend. McCain’s daughter Meghan said that Trump had a “pathetic life” and “will never be a great man.”

    (Published Tuesday, March 19, 2019)

    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.

    Trump Doesn't See White Nationalism as a Rising Threat

    [NATL] Trump Doesn't See White Nationalism as a Rising Threat

    President Donald Trump on Friday declined to join expressions of concern about white nationalism, saying "I don't, really" when asked whether he thought it was a rising threat around the world.

    (Published Friday, March 15, 2019)

    In Kansas, Republicans were fighting among themselves in an unusual battle for governor in which the president sided with the incumbent's challenger.

    A new state law allows ballots postmarked as of Tuesday to be counted, so long as they arrive within three days of Election Day.

    Kobach received a late endorsement from Trump. Colyer received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association and had the backing of Kansas political legend Bob Dole.

    Should the polarizing Kobach win the primary, some Republican operatives fear he could lose the governorship to Democrats this fall. The race could become further disrupted if Kansas City-area businessman Greg Orman makes it onto the November ballot. He submitted petitions Monday with more than 10,000 signatures for what could become the most serious independent run for Kansas governor in decades.

    Trump made his preference clear for Kobach.

    "He is a fantastic guy who loves his State and our Country - he will be a GREAT Governor and has my full & total Endorsement! Strong on Crime, Border & Military," the president tweeted on the eve of the election.

    CAIR Leader Calls for Trump to More Clearly Condemn Anti-Muslim Terrorism

    [NATL] CAIR Leader Calls for Trump to More Clearly Condemn Anti-Muslim Terrorism

    Niwad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, responded Friday to the terrorist attacks on mosques in New Zealand. He called on President Donald Trump to “condemn this, not only as a hate crime, but as a white supremacist terrorist attack.”

    (Published Friday, March 15, 2019)

    In Kansas' 3rd Congressional District, Sharice Davids became the state's first Native American and gay nominee for Congress.

    The 38-year-old attorney and activist prevailed in a close six-candidate Democratic primary and will face four-term Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder.

    Davids edged labor lawyer Brent Welder, who received the endorsements and a June campaign visit from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    Democrats are targeting the district, which includes the state's metropolitan Kansas City area. Hillary Clinton narrowly won it in the 2016 presidential race.

    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.

    Beto O’Rourke Talks to NBC 5 About Presidential Run

    [NATL-DFW] Beto O’Rourke Talks to NBC 5 About Presidential Run

    Beto O'Rourke is officially joining the 2020 race for the White House. After months of speculation, he announced his decision Thursday morning.

    (Published Thursday, March 14, 2019)

    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.

    NBC News and The Associated Press do not declare winners in races subject to an automatic recount.

    In a special election season that featured nearly a dozen congressional contests, Democrats claimed just a handful of wins, but they may have cause for optimism this fall. In virtually every special election test dating back to the spring of 2017, Democratic candidates performed significantly better than their party had in those same places two years earlier.

    Trump won Ohio's 12th Congressional District, for example, by more than 11 points in 2016; on Tuesday night, Balderson and O'Connor were separated by less than 1 point.

    There are 79 House races this fall considered more competitive than the Ohio district — at least looking at Trump's 2016 performance — according to data compiled by the Democrats' national campaign committee.

    Despite the deadlocked race, the details of the Ohio returns suggest considerably higher Democratic enthusiasm less than 100 days before the midterms.

    Beto O'Rourke Holds First Campaign Rally for 2020

    [NATL] Beto O'Rourke Holds First Campaign Rally for 2020

    Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke hit the campaign trail with his first stop at a coffeeshop in Keokuk, Iowa, the morning he announced his bid for the Oval Office. 

    (Published Thursday, March 14, 2019)

    O'Connor's total of nearly 100,000 votes far exceeded what the Republican Tiberi's Democratic opponent got in 2014. Balderson's total — just more than 101,500 votes — was barely two-thirds of Tiberi's 2014 mark of about 150,000.

    "Over the next three months, I'm going to do everything I can to keep America great again, so that when we come back here in November — get ready, we gotta come back here in November — I have earned your vote for a second time," Balderson told supporters.

    It's unclear how much Trump's support helped or hurt Balderson. Described by campaign operatives as a "Whole Foods" district, the largely suburban region features a more affluent and educated voter base than the typical Trump stronghold.

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a leading voice in the GOP's shrinking anti-Trump wing, once represented the district in Congress.

    At times, the race centered on Trump's tax cuts as much as the candidates.

    O'Connor and his Democratic allies railed against the tax plan, casting it as a giveaway for the rich that exacerbates federal deficits and threatens Medicare and Social Security. Balderson and his Republican allies have backed away from the tax plan in recent weeks, training their fire instead on top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

    Manafort Lawyer Heckled for 'No Collusion' Comments

    [NATL] Manafort Lawyer Heckled for 'No Collusion' Comments

    Shortly after former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was sentenced to an additional 3.5 years in prison, his attorney Kevin Downing said there was no Russian collusion on the part of his client. 

    (Published Thursday, March 14, 2019)

    O'Connor's campaign spent $2.25 million on advertising compared to Balderson's $507,000, according to campaign tallies of ad spending. But the Republican campaign arm and its allied super PAC picked up the slack, spending more than $4 million between them.

    In Michigan , former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib is poised to become the first Muslim woman in Congress. She won the Democratic nomination to run unopposed in November.

    The field was set in two Senate contests.

    In Missouri, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill claimed her party's nomination, while state Attorney General Josh Hawley will represent the GOP.

    And in Michigan, Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow will take on military veteran and business executive John James, who won the GOP nomination. James would join Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina as the chamber's only black Republicans.

    Trump tweeted that James is "a potential Republican star." 

    'Run, Joe, Run': Biden Teases 2020 Presidential Bid

    [NATL] 'Run, Joe, Run': Biden Teases 2020 Presidential Bid

    Amid cheers of "Run, Joe, Run" from the crowd at the International Association of Firefighters, former Vice President Joe Biden teased a presidential bid, telling the crowd to "save" their energy. "I may need it in a few weeks," he said. 

    (Published Thursday, March 14, 2019)