August 08, 2018
President Donald Trump is traveling Saturday to Ohio to hold a rally for state Sen. Troy Balderson, who is running in Tuesday's special election for an open congressional seat against Democrat Danny O'Connor. (Aug. 4) AP

WASHINGTON – Voters in five states went to the polls Tuesday, highlighted by a closely-contested congressional race in Ohio plus a bevy of other House, Senate and gubernatorial contests from Michigan to Missouri.
Key takeaways from Ohio special election and primaries in four other states
Here are our top takeaways from Tuesday's results:
House Republicans are in trouble(bb)
Ohio’s special election remained too close to call Tuesday night but this race should have been a cake-walk for the GOP. The fact that 31-year-old Democrat Danny O’Connor, a county recorder, made it so competitive is a bad sign for the GOP heading into November, especially since Republicans pulled out all the stops to boost their candidate, GOP state Sen. Troy Balderson.
The GOP spent more than $4 million on the special election, a district Republicans have controlled for more than three decades. They attacked O’Connor as a puppet for the ever-unpopular House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, even though he said he would not support her for speaker. And they dispatched President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to campaign for Balderson.
All that for a virtual tie in the vote tally. Balderson held a narrow lead over O’Connor but the race remained too close to call officially.
Key takeaways from Ohio special election and primaries in four other states
No matter who wins, the close finish signals a possible “Blue Wave” election that could catapult Democrats to a House majority come November. There are 68 Republican-held districts where the GOP holds a weaker hand in terms of partisan makeup, according to the Cook Political Report.
"The GOP have to do something really significant in September if they want to keep the House in November," Frank Luntz, a longtime Republican pollster, tweeted Tuesday night.
Tuesday's special election is to fill a vacancy left by ex-Rep. Pat Tiberi, who retired earlier this year. Balderson and O'Connor will face off again in November, when they vie for a full two-year term in the House.
Mini-takeaway on Ohio: Democrats may be cursing the Green Party candidate Joe Manchik, who snagged more than 1,100 votes. Presumably, most of those came from left-leaning voters who would otherwise have supported O’Connor. It’s not clear if that would have made up the difference for the Democrat, but it has to be frustrating in such a close race.
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