Narrow Republican lead in Ohio's 12th District is too close for comfort for GOP

Gov. Kasich on Ohio special election
Gov. Kasich on Ohio special election 02:11

President Trump took credit Wednesday for a Republican win in a special election in Ohio's 12th Congressional District. Troy Balderson has claimed victory, but officially, the race is too close to call — and maybe too close for comfort for the GOP.

"When you do the math and look at tradition it's not going to change," Balderson said Wednesday. 

With roughly 8,000 absentee ballots and provisional votes yet to be counted, Balderson is barely leading Democrat Danny O'Connor by less than 1 percentage point. The margin is far narrower than usual in this District, which has been considered reliably conservative — and that has some Republicans worried.

John Kasich, Ohio's outgoing Republican governor, said voters sent a message to Republicans to "knock it off."

"Stop the chaos, the division, no more of this family separation that we see at the border or taking people's health care away," Kasich said. "People have basically had enough."

Danny O'Connor on OH-12 race 01:09

But President Trump doesn't seemed worried. On Twitter, he said his endorsement gave Balderson a boost and predicted a "red wave" in November.

O'Connor disagrees. He'll face Balderson in a rematch for the seat in the general election this fall. He told CBS News he has "three more months" to find more people to vote for him in November. "We just showed that if you give us three months to sprint across this district what we can do." 

There are dozens of districts around the country that look like Ohio's 12th — traditionally Republican areas in the shadows of big cities where working-class people and retirees are fed up with Washington.

Control of the House will likely be determined by which party can win over voters like Angie Wright.

"I truly don't trust any of them any more," Wright said. "They don't keep promises. I don't see anything happening for the middle class."

The closer-than-anticipated finish led a key outside Republican group to warn GOP Congressional candidates that they face a "tough political environment" and "cannot expect to win tough races" if their Democratic opponent is raising more money.