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Nailbiter! Republicans hold OH seat

Nailbiter! Republicans hold OH seat

WESTERVILLE, Ohio- Democrat Danny O'Connor has jumped out to a significant lead over Republican Troy Balderson in early returns in Ohio's congressional special election.

The 31-year-old Democrat and 56-year-old Balderson exchanged leads as the votes rolled in, with the Republican ahead by about 1,700 votes with all precincts reporting.

Balderson had both Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a strong Trump critic, and the president behind him.

President Donald Trump's preferred congressional candidate - and his chief legislative achievement - are about to be tested in battleground OH in the season's final high-stakes special election.

Donald Trump has claimed victory for the Republican candidate in a hotly-contested OH election, saying his visit to the state helped him come from behind to defeat a tough challenge from his Democrat rival.

Polling expert Nate Silver, founder of the statistics site FiveThirtyEight, said Balderson was "a heavy favourite" to win based on the votes counted.

"Voters in Ohio's 12th Congressional District picking a new congressman", King said on CNN's "Inside Politics".

"I will support whoever the Democratic Party puts forward", said O'Connor in a statement that Balderson and his outside allies immediately pounced on.

While Republicans were glad to have the apparent victory, the narrowness and lack of finality of the apparent victory in a district President Trump won by 11 points in 2016 is cause for concern. Whoever wins will have to defend their seat again this November.

"Kris Kobach, a strong and early supporter of mine, is running for Governor of the Great State of Kansas", Mr. Trump wrote Monday on Twitter.

But it's a bad sign for Republicans that they keep having to fight this hard to hold onto seats that are normally slam dunks for their party. Brent Welder, meanwhile, was leading the Democratic primary in Kansas' 3rd Congressional District. His campaign spent US$2.25 million ($3.33m) on advertising compared to Balderson's US$507,000 (NZ$750,000), according to campaign tallies of ad spending. Provisional votes remained to be counted.

Republicans appeared to have held off a Democratic surge on Tuesday in a traditionally conservative OH district many Democrats had hoped would serve up an unlikely victory and boost their chances of sweeping wins in November's midterm elections.

O'Connor dominated Balderson on the local airwaves.

Mr O'Connor and his Democratic allies have railed against the tax plan, casting it as a giveaway for the rich that exacerbates federal deficits and threatens Medicare and Social Security.

The special election will fill the seat vacated by Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R), who is retiring. The field includes Fayrouz Saad, who would be the first Muslim woman in Congress.

In Missouri, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill claimed her party's nomination, while state Attorney General Josh Hawley will represent the GOP. "He will win BIG in Nov".

President Trump campaigned for Balderson, a 56-year-old state senator, this past weekend in an effort to energize the GOP base, but some Republicans anxious that the president's appearance could have had an adverse effect by motivating voters who don't like Trump to come out for O'Connor.