COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - UPDATE: 8/24/2018 1:20PM
A two-term Ohio state senator who was backed by both President Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik), a Trump critic, has won a congressional special election, retaining a coveted open House seat for Republicans.
Voters picked Sen. Troy Balderson, of Zanesville, over Democratic Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor to complete the unexpired term of ex-U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, who retired in January. Balderson will face O'Connor again in November for a full two-year term.
The gridlocked race decided Friday was a test of voter sentiment before November's general election.
Balderson's victory buoys Republicans concerned about how Trump is playing in swing states. But O'Connor was a long shot in the district, held by Republicans for nearly 35 years.
The Republican Kasich represented the district before Tiberi.
UPDATE: 8/24/2018 11:50AM
A final review of ballots cast in a deadlocked special congressional election in Ohio is underway.
The bipartisan Franklin County Board of Elections authorized staff Friday to count 46 additional absentee ballots and 1,161 of 1,349 provisional ballots cast in the uncalled 12th Congressional District race. Another 17 ballots were being individually reviewed.
Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson, of Zanesville, leads Democrat Danny O'Connor, the Franklin County recorder, by less than a percentage point in unofficial results. An automatic recount would be triggered if final results land within half a percent.
The Associated Press doesn't call races in cases of automatic recount.
With Balderson likely to prevail in the race for the rest of Republican Pat Tiberi's unexpired term, Democrats still view the seat as vulnerable this fall.
UPDATE: 8/24/2018 9:00AM
The result is almost official in a deadlocked special congressional election in Ohio.
Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson, of Zanesville, led Democrat Danny O'Connor, the Franklin County recorder, ended the Aug. 7 election separated by less than a percentage point.
With thousands of votes outstanding and an automatic recount possible, The Associated Press didn't call the race.
The elections board in Franklin County, the most populous county in Ohio's 12th Congressional District, is set to certify official results Friday. If Balderson and O'Connor land within half a percentage point of each other, a recount would go forward.
Balderson and O'Connor face off again in November either way. The August election was for former Republican U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi's unexpired term. The November election decides the next full, two-year term.
A late addition to voting tallies in Ohio's congressional special election has further tightened the race.
The Franklin County Board of Elections said Wednesday afternoon that a routine preliminary audit identified hundreds of additional votes cast in suburban Columbus precincts.
The elections board says the tally from the precincts in Worthington included 388 votes for Democrat Danny O'Connor and 198 for Republican Troy Balderson.
Unofficial vote tallies before those ballots were announced had Balderson leading by about 1,750 votes, with the race too close to call.
Franklin County Elections Board spokesman Aaron Sellers says votes from a portion of one voting location weren't processed into the tabulation system.
Elections boards must still count hundreds of absentee and provisional ballots in the race before the final results are known.
Republican Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O'Connor are locked in a tight race for a coveted U.S. House seat in Ohio's congressional special election.
Balderson, a state senator, and O'Connor, the Franklin County recorder, want to complete the term of a Republican who retired in January. The race tests voter sentiment before the general election in November, when Balderson and O'Connor will battle again for the full two-year term.
After an early lead by O'Connor on Tuesday night, he and Balderson were neck and neck.
President Donald Trump campaigned for Balderson, arguing Republicans need to control Congress and casting the midterms as a referendum on himself.
A Balderson victory would buoy Republicans concerned about Trump's play in political battleground states. An O'Connor win would elate Democrats hoping for Trump backlash.
President Donald Trump has endorsed state Sen. Troy Balderson for the 12th Congressional District, saying the Ohio Republican "loves our Military, Vets & 2nd Amendment."
In tweets Saturday night, Trump calls Balderson's opponent, Democratic Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor, "a Nancy Pelosi Liberal who is WEAK on Crime & Borders." He says Balderson "is the total opposite" and has "my Full & Total Endorsement!"
Balderson and O'Connor will face off in an Aug. 7 special election to fill the unexpired term of former U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi (TEE'-behr-ee), who retired in January. Early voting for that election began recently.
The district represents all or part of Delaware, Franklin, Licking, Marion, Morrow, Muskingum and Richland counties. It has been held by a Republican for 35 years, but Democrats see it as an opportunity.
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