OH race too close to call but Trump claims victory

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The best barometer for November's midterm elections came in OH, where the contest in a congressional district near Columbus that Republicans have held for three decades was too close to call.

Troy Balderson, Republican candidate for Ohio's 12th Congressional District, greets a crowd of supporters during an election night party.

Ohio Republicans argued that the race should be taken as a warning, but not a reason to panic.

O'Connor needed Franklin County - which includes the state capital of Columbus - to come out strongly for him in order to topple his Republican rival.

In other elections held on Tuesday, former Michigan Democratic state Senate leader Gretchen Whitmer beat Bernie Sanders-backed candidate Abdul El-Sayed to be the Democratic candidate for governor of Michigan.

"While we won tonight, this remains a very tough political environment and moving forward, we can not expect to win tough races when our candidate is being outraised", Corry Bliss, the head of the big-spending Congressional Leadership Fund, warned in a Tuesday night statement.

The races, like dozens before them, pit the strength of the Republican president's fiery coalition against the Democratic Party's anti-Trump resistance.

Balderson told supporters in OH: "I'd like to thank President Trump".

Balderson also had several stumbles.

Trump carried the district by 11 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election and the Republicans have lost a House race just once there since the 1930s.

Democratic candidate Danny O'Connor addresses supporters at his election night party for a special election in Ohio's 12th congressional district in Westerville, Ohio, U.S., August 7, 2018. Pat Tiberi resigned to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable. The two candidates will face off again in November. There's an automatic recount if the margin of difference is within 0.5 percent, and the Columbus Dispatchnoted that provisional ballots and absentees sent from overseas and the military won't be counted for 10 days. It's a bellwether, one the Democrats see as a sign of a blue wave if they win or come very close.

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Democrat Danny O'Connor speaks during an election night party. "He never stops working", Trump said of Balderson, a former Ironman race competitor. "Tomorrow we rest and we keep fighting through to November".

It's unclear how much Trump's support helped or hurt Balderson. Republicans now hold a two-seat majority in the Senate, while Democrats need to net 23 seats to take control of the House.

Should the polarizing Kobach win, some Republican operatives fear he could lose the governor's seat to Democrats this fall.

Voters in OH and Kansas join those across Missouri, Michigan and Washington state at the ballot box. Lacy Clay defeated insurgent Cori Bush in the 1st Congressional District, and in the governor's race in MI.

But the Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders-backed Abdul El-Sayed's bid for MI governor fell short, CNN projects, as the establishment favorite, former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, nabbed the Democratic nomination and a November date with Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Iraq War veteran John James also won the Michigan GOP Senate primary to take on Democratic Sen.

Over in Kansas, Republicans are locked in an internal fight for the governorship. But only OH will send someone to Congress after votes are counted.

Trump didn't seem anxious about Kobach's prospects. Kobach was an immigration adviser to Trump's campaign in 2016 and vice chairman of Trump's commission to investigate voting fraud before the panel collapsed.

The bigger story, though, was voters' overwhelming rejection of Missouri's right-to-work law.

He also needed good numbers in neighboring Delaware County.