Arizona result foreshadows a big special election battle in Ohio

There is little in common between a retiree enclave west of arid Phoenix and a ribbon of urban, suburban and rural la...

Posted: Apr 27, 2018 12:32 PM
Updated: Apr 27, 2018 12:32 PM

There is little in common between a retiree enclave west of arid Phoenix and a ribbon of urban, suburban and rural landscapes north of Columbus, Ohio.

But the unexpectedly tight win for a Republican in Arizona's 8th Congressional District on Tuesday evening has Democrats almost 2,000 miles away eagerly looking towards an August special election in Ohio as a prime opportunity to buck the political status quo yet again and win another special election before November.

"It is obvious that we should compete everywhere, and we can win just about anywhere and that the map is no longer the obstacle," Ohio Democratic Party chair David Pepper said on Wednesday. "All of the sudden, districts you didn't think you could win in, you can win in."

Both parties have had their eye on the race for Ohio's 12th Congressional District for months, according to conversations with multiple Republican and Democratic operatives, and agree that there is a good chance that the contest ends up being as tight, if not tighter, than past special elections.

The area, which has been represented by a Republican for 35 years, is more conservative than districts that include larger parts of Columbus. But one key reason for concern among Republicans is that the Ohio district is far less conservative than the one where Republican Debbie Lesko, a former state senator, bested Democrat Hiral Tipirneni by a slim 5 points in Arizona on Tuesday night.

Where Trump won the Arizona district by 21 points in 2016, he only won the Ohio district by 11 points. That 10-point difference is enough to worry Republicans, who saw last night's results as yet another early warning that the headwinds against the party in this year's midterm elections could be gale force.

"There is no way we don't, as a party, spend money in this race," a top Republican working on the midterms said of the Ohio race. "It will be competitive."

The operative said that they expect the race to be considerably more expensive than the Arizona contest, where primarily Republican outside groups only spent slightly over $1.5 million.

The Ohio vacancy, which was opened when Rep. Patrick Tiberi resigned to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable, has also created a wild and wide-open primary, where at least 17 candidates are running for the Democratic and Republican nominations in next month's primary.

Democratic candidate Danny O'Connor in Ohio, who is backed by more establishment Democrats like Reps. Joyce Beatty and Tim Ryan, said the Arizona election showed the desire for change even in more conservative districts.

"It shows that people want change. Folks want real representation in Washington and it is something I see in every part of this district," O'Connor said on Wednesday, hours after the Arizona race has been called.

Though the Arizona race was different than his Ohio contest, O'Connor said watching Democrats overperform in other states makes Democrats across the country feel like "we are all on in the same boat" and helps voters realize that turning a traditionally red district blue is possible.

"If you are fired up about #AZ08 then join us in the next special election in #OH12," O'Connor tweeted as results ticked in on Tuesday night. "We are building a coalition that is ready to return this country to everyday Americans."

Former sheriff Zach Scott has also launched a bid for the Democratic nomination. Scott unsuccessfully challenged Democrat Andrew J. Ginther for Columbus mayor in 2015, a run that soured top party operatives against him.

John Russell, a Democratic activist who help organize the Indivisible movement in the area after Trump's election, is also running, banking on the support of anti-Trump fervor that animated the post-2016 activism. And Ed Albertson, Democrats' candidate for the seat in 2016 against Tiberi, is running again.

The Republican race, however, may be even more wide open, with powerful Republican outside groups operating a shadow campaign in the congressional district.

The Republican establishment has backed Troy Balderson, an Ohio State Senator, who already has the support of Defending Main Street PAC, a group that began airing ads on cable and digitally across the district earlier this month. The campaign cost $240,000.

Balderson has also been backed by Tiberi, whose principal campaign group, Friends of Tiberi, spent more than $45,000 on radio ads backing the candidate.

But Balderson has faced stiff competition from Melanie Leneghan, a businesswoman who is running as an outsider who has said she will wholeheartedly back Trump's agenda in Washington.

Leneghan has been endorsed by Mark Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Jim Jordan, a conservative congressman who represents a district that partially borders Columbus.

Ohio State Sen. Kevin Bacon is also challenging for the seat, as is Tim Kane, an Air Force veteran who is already on air in the district, and Carol O'Brien, a county prosecutor who released her first television ad earlier this month.

Huntsville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Florence
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 75°
Fayetteville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 73°
Scottsboro
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 44375

Reported Deaths: 984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5221152
Montgomery4127103
Mobile4080134
Tuscaloosa228842
Marshall171110
Madison14307
Lee138437
Shelby128423
Morgan11025
Walker93924
Elmore92514
Franklin89514
Dallas8809
Baldwin8649
Etowah73913
DeKalb7195
Butler63328
Chambers62927
Autauga60712
Tallapoosa59169
Russell5520
Unassigned50323
Houston4964
Limestone4950
Lauderdale4906
Lowndes47221
Cullman4524
Pike4295
Colbert3956
St. Clair3822
Coffee3772
Bullock36910
Covington3587
Calhoun3545
Escambia3506
Barbour3492
Hale31121
Talladega3097
Marengo30211
Wilcox2918
Dale2880
Sumter28512
Clarke2746
Jackson2732
Winston2583
Chilton2462
Blount2351
Monroe2352
Pickens2356
Marion22413
Conecuh2097
Randolph2069
Choctaw19512
Macon1949
Bibb1901
Greene1868
Perry1771
Henry1343
Crenshaw1253
Washington1097
Lawrence1080
Cherokee977
Geneva800
Lamar771
Fayette701
Clay652
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 51316

Reported Deaths: 645
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby11793200
Davidson11089122
Rutherford298735
Hamilton278135
Sumner161052
Trousdale14985
Williamson131315
Out of TN11857
Knox11717
Wilson94117
Putnam8837
Robertson83411
Sevier8043
Bradley7073
Lake6920
Tipton6455
Unassigned6351
Bledsoe6201
Bedford5705
Montgomery5547
Macon4654
Maury3543
Hardeman3434
Hamblen3404
Fayette3172
Madison2992
Loudon2871
Rhea2860
Dyer2511
McMinn23718
Cheatham2301
Blount2273
Dickson2090
Cumberland1814
Washington1650
Lawrence1636
Lauderdale1453
Anderson1422
Monroe1406
Jefferson1360
Gibson1291
Smith1201
Coffee1190
Sullivan1172
Obion1122
Hardin1087
Greene1032
Cocke940
Haywood922
Marshall911
Franklin873
Wayne860
Hickman800
Warren760
Marion734
McNairy730
White703
DeKalb670
Lincoln640
Weakley641
Grundy621
Overton621
Roane620
Giles601
Carter591
Hawkins572
Unicoi550
Campbell481
Carroll471
Henderson460
Claiborne450
Polk450
Henry440
Johnson440
Grainger420
Sequatchie420
Crockett383
Cannon370
Chester340
Perry340
Meigs320
Humphreys281
Jackson270
Morgan271
Stewart230
Decatur220
Fentress220
Union180
Clay170
Scott170
Houston150
Benton131
Moore120
Van Buren80
Hancock60
Lewis60
Pickett60

 

 

Community Events