VOA News

U.S. President Donald Trump is boasting of success in Tuesday’s elections, but the vote count in one key special election in the Midwestern state of Ohio for a seat in the House of Representatives is still too close to call.

Trump declared Republican state lawmaker Troy Balderson the winner in the House election outside Columbus, the Ohio capital. With all the election day votes counted, Balderson was 1,754 votes ahead of his Democratic challenger, Danny O’Connor — less than a 1 percentage point edge.

But local election officials said 3,300 provisional ballots and more than 5,000 absentee votes have yet to be counted and, under state law, won’t be tallied for another 11 days.

Supporters of Danny O'Connor, the Franklin County recorder, anxiously watch results during an election night watch party at the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association in Westerville, Ohio, Aug. 7, 2018.
Supporters of Danny O’Connor, the Franklin County recorder, anxiously watch results during an election night watch party at the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association in Westerville, Ohio, Aug. 7, 2018.

The district where Balderson has pulled ahead has been a Republican stronghold, sending Republicans to Congress for the last 30-plus years. Trump, in his successful 2016 run for the White House, won the district by 11 percentage points and flew there this past weekend to campaign for Balderson.

But with national polls showing Trump’s job approval ratings mired in the low 40 percent range, Republicans have voiced concerns that Democrats could win the 23 House seats they need to take control of the chamber.

However, Trump, on Tuesday night and into Wednesday, seemed unconcerned.

“When I decided to go to Ohio for Troy Balderson, he was down in early voting 64 to 36,” Trump said on Twitter. “That was not good. After my speech on Saturday night, there was a big turn for the better. Now Troy wins a great victory during a very tough time of the year for voting. He will win BIG in Nov.,” when he again will face O’Connor for a full two-year House term.

Trump claimed that Republicans have won eight of nine House special elections during his presidency, although the figure is actually eight of 10, along with a Senate seat the party lost.

He added, “Yet if you listen to the Fake News Media you would think we are being clobbered. Why can’t they play it straight, so unfair to the Republican Party and in particular, your favorite President!”

Voters cast their ballots among an array of electronic voting machines in a polling station at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, in Dublin, Ohio.
Voters cast their ballots among an array of electronic voting machines in a polling station at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, in Dublin, Ohio.

As the November 6 nationwide congressional elections near, Trump plans to campaign heavily for Republicans in hopes of maintaining the party’s majority control of the House and Senate. Historically, the U.S. president’s party fares poorly in congressional elections midway through a president’s four-year term in the White House.

“As long as I campaign and/or support Senate and House candidates (within reason), they will win!” Trump tweeted. “I LOVE the people, & they certainly seem to like the job I’m doing. If I find the time, in between China, Iran, the Economy and much more, which I must, we will have a giant Red Wave!” referencing the color of Republican successes on U.S. election maps.

In the November election, all 435 House seats, 35 of 100 Senate seats, and 36 of 50 state governors’ offices will be up for election. Democrats would need a two-seat pickup to take control of the Senate, although U.S. political analysts consider that less likely than a possible Democratic takeover of the House.

Trump endorsed several other Republicans in party primaries on Tuesday and all won or were holding onto leads as vote counting continued.

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