Muslim Times(Web Desk) – US President Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate appears to have eked out a win in a hotly-contested special congressional election in Ohio.
Republican Troy Balderson was clinging to a narrow lead over Democrat Danny O’Connor by 50.2 percent to 49.3 percent on Tuesday, with 100 precincts reporting, according to a projection by the Associated Press.
Although at least 3,367 provisional ballots have not been counted yet, Balderson declared victory on Tuesday night and thanked the president for his help.
Trump, on numerous occasions, has endorsed him over O’Connor to fill the remaining months of former US Rep. Pat Tiberi’s term.
“(Balderson)’s really tough. He’s really smart. He never stops working,” Trump said in Ohio where he arrived in on Saturday to campaign for Balderson, a 56-year-old state senator.
“It’s Ohio’s 12th district, and he’s going to hopefully be here a long time,” he said in a crowded, overheated high school gymnasium.
“When I decided to go to Ohio for Troy Balderson, he was down in early voting 64 to 36,” Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. “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.”
The suburban Columbus district has been in Republican hands since 1980 and had expected to remain so, especially after Trump won the district by 11 points in 2016.
But the close race is likely to give Democrats more confidence with less than 100 days left before the midterms, as the party looks to flip the 23 seats they will require in order to regain the House.
Meanwhile, there is another top Trump ally in a neck-and-neck race in Kansas.
Incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach have traded leads in the gubernatorial primary, while about one-fourth of precincts have not been counted yet.
On Monday, Trump endorsed Kobach, an immigration hardliner who led the charge to gather evidence to support the president’s uncorroborated claims of widespread voter fraud.
Some national Republicans, however, have expressed concern that if the very conservative Kobach is their nominee, it could put at risk that race and other downballot contests in the state.