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Updated 11:48 PM |

What Went Down In The Ohio 12 Special Election

Micah Cohen
11:48 PM

That’s A Wrap

We’re calling it a night, folks. There are actually still a few interesting races left unresolved. In particular: The GOP primary for governor in Kansas, where Gov. Jeff Colyer and Kris Kobach are running neck-and-neck; and the special election in Ohio 12, where Republican Troy Balderson has what seems like a safe lead, but it’s small enough that we don’t expect the race to be called tonight.

Ohio 12 was the headline race going into the night and it basically went according to script. Balderson had a small lead according to an average of polls, and it looks like he’ll squeak it out. More broadly, Ohio 12 looks to have shifted by about 13 points towards Democrats relative to its partisan lean (how we would expect it to vote in a neutral political environment):

How Democrats have performed in special elections

U.S. House and Senate special elections this cycle, by the seat’s partisan lean and final vote margin

Year Date Seat Partisan Lean Vote Margin Dem. Swing
2017 April 4 California 34th* D+69 D+87 +18
April 11 Kansas 4th R+29 R+6 +23
May 25 Montana at large R+21 R+6 +16
June 20 Georgia 6th R+9 R+4 +6
June 20 South Carolina 5th R+19 R+3 +16
Nov. 7 Utah 3rd R+35 R+32 +3
Dec. 12 Alabama Senate R+29 D+2 +31
2018 March 13 Pennsylvania 18th R+21 D+0.3 +22
April 24 Arizona 8th R+25 R+5 +20
June 30 Texas 27th* R+26 R+21 +5
Aug. 7 Ohio 12th† R+14 R+1 +13

Partisan lean is the average difference between how the constituency voted and how the country voted overall in the last two presidential elections, with 2016 weighted 75 percent and 2012 weighted 25 percent.

* Results are from either an all-party primary or an all-party general election, both of which include multiple candidates of the same party; vote margin is the total vote share of all Democratic candidates combined minus the total vote share of all Republican candidates combined.

† Unofficial results.

Sources: Daily Kos Elections, secretaries of state

That’s just about in line with Democrats’ average overperformance in these elections in the Trump era. Special elections have been a good sign for Democratic midterm hopes for awhile now, and Ohio 12 was no exception (even if Balderson hangs on).

In any case, here’s our plan: We’ll have some additional analysis/thoughts on the night’s results (hopefully fully resolved by then) in a separate article going up early tomorrow morning. Please check back then.

In the meantime, thank you as always for watching the returns with us.