Tiberi endorses would-be successor ahead of GOP primary

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-Ohio), whose retirement earlier this year sparked a special election to replace him, is endorsing a GOP state senator to take his place. 

Tiberi announced Friday that he's backing state Sen. Troy Balderson in the upcoming special election, releasing a new television lauding his choice and dropping almost $150,000 on an independent expenditure campaign on his behalf. 
"I want our next congressman to be worthy of the job — that's Troy Balderson," Tiberi says in the ad.
"Troy is a conservative fighter who will stand for what is right, not what's easy. As a son of farmers, Troy shares the same values and wonderful story that makes our country great."  
Balderson is part of the crowded field of GOP candidates looking to emerge from the May 8 primaries. There are actually two primary votes on that day in the district: one for the right to run in the August special election to fill Tiberi's seat through the end of the year, and another for the right to run in the normal November general election for a two-year term. 
Other top GOP candidates include state Sen. Kevin Bacon, Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien and Liberty County Trustee Melanie Leneghan. 
Balderson leads the fundraising race, with Leneghan close behind. 
The two have also been the recipients of significant outside spending in recent weeks. On top of the $150,000 from Tiberi's group, Balderson is benefitting from about $250,000 in television time booked by the Republican Main Street Partnership's super PAC. 
Whoever wins the primary will move on to what could be a tougher special election than expected in a district President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE won by 11 points. The district is the most affluent and best educated in the state, and Democrats have overperformed among the wealthy and educated in recent special elections.