Election analyst sees Dem chances improving in Ohio special election

Election analyst sees Dem chances improving in Ohio special election
© Camille Fine

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election analysis organization, has shifted its rating of the next major House special election to a toss-up — another sign that Democrats could make the red-seat race competitive

Cook shifted the rating of Ohio's 12th Congressional District, vacated after former GOP Rep. Patrick Tiberi's resignation earlier this year, from a "lean Republican" seat to a "toss up." 
 
It's the latest ominous sign for House Republicans: Tiberi easily held the district during his 17 years in office, and President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE won it by 11 points in 2016. But Democrats are targeting highly educated and wealthy districts like the 12th in the hopes that frustration with Trump can pull voters to their side. 
 
The move comes just weeks before the May 8 primary, where voters will cast their ballots in the special election primary as well as the general election primary. Voters need to choose someone to fill Tiberi's term through 2018, as well as their next member for the Congress that starts in 2019. 
 
Crowded fields on both sides of the aisle complicate the handicapping in the race, as it's possible that the winner of each primary will emerge with a relatively low share of the vote. 
 
On the GOP side, state Sen. Troy Balderson has the backing of  Tiberi and the Republican Main Street Partnership. Both have dropped six-figure advertising buys on Balderson's behalf. 
 
Liberty County Trustee Melanie Leneghan has been endorsed by Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanTrump, Congress brace for Mueller findings Jim Jordan on Mueller probe: 'Distraction is finally over' Papadopoulos tweets 'time to hit back' after Mueller report delivered to DOJ MORE, the Ohio Republican who helped found the House Freedom Caucus. She's benefitted from a six-figure effort from the House Freedom Action Fund. 
 
Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien has the backing of state Auditor Dave Yost, while state Sen. Kevin Bacon has been endorsed by the Franklin County GOP. 
 
Tim Kane, a veteran who has worked at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the conservative Heritage Foundation, has the support of former Secretary of State George Schultz. 
 
Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor leads the fundraising race on the Democratic side — he also has the backing of prominent local members of Congress like Reps. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanHouse Dem renews call for censuring Steve King The Hill's Morning Report - Dems contemplate big election and court reforms Hillicon Valley: Google takes heat at privacy hearing | 2020 Dems to debate 'monopoly power' | GOP rips net neutrality bill | Warren throws down gauntlet over big tech | New scrutiny for Trump over AT&T merger MORE and Joyce BeattyJoyce Birdson BeattyDem rep says lower tax refunds are 'bad news' for the economy Dem rep says refunds are low because GOP tax policy doesn't benefit most Americans House Dems worry about lack of women of color in leadership MORE. Progressive activist John Russell is also running, as is former Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, who is running as a more moderate alternative.