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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is making a late play in a special election in Ohio, where voters will fill a vacancy created by a Republican congressman’s resignation earlier this year.
The party has reserved about $240,000 in air time to bolster Danny O’Connor, the Franklin County recorder who faces state Sen. Troy Balderson (R) in the Aug. 7 special election in Ohio’s 12th District, according to a source tracking the advertising market.
The DCCC did not immediately respond to calls and emails.
O’Connor and Balderson are running to replace former Rep. Pat TiberiPatrick (Pat) Joseph TiberiOhio Democrat Danny O'Connor won't seek Portman's Senate seat The Hill's Morning Report - Biden argues for legislative patience, urgent action amid crisis Ohio New Members 2019 MORE (R), who resigned this year to take a job leading a prominent Ohio business group. The district includes the northern and eastern suburbs and exurbs of Columbus.
The Democratic spending is a pittance compared to the more than $2 million that top Republican outside groups have spent on Balderson’s behalf.
But O’Connor himself has outspent Balderson, who had to use most of his financial resources to get past several Republican challengers in the May primary.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC tied to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (R-Wis.), has dropped $1.5 million into the race.
Tiberi used leftover campaign funds to boost Balderson in the primary, and the National Republican Congressional Committee has about $300,000 in television time reserved between now and Election Day.
But Democrats are making a foray into heavily Republican turf in a district President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE won by a 53 percent to 42 percent margin in 2016. That is closer than his margin of victory in Pennsylvania’s 14th District, where Democrat Conor Lamb beat a Republican state legislator in a stunning upset that roiled the GOP earlier this year.
If Democrats are able to snag another seat, or even get close, it would jolt Republicans, who are already facing questions about their fundraising ability and preparations for what will almost certainly be a difficult midterm election ahead.
Democrats have flipped about two dozen Republican-held state legislative seats since Trump was inaugurated, and even losing candidates in congressional special elections have dramatically outperformed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonI voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary Meghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' MORE’s showing in 2016.