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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." 
 
 
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 JordanJordan says 'votes are there' to oust Cheney from GOP leadership Republicans float support for antitrust reform after Trump Facebook ban upheld Facebook board decision on Trump ban pleases no one 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) RyanDemocrats confront difficult prospects for midterms Tim Ryan touts labor support in Senate bid Democratic leaders push to boost congressional staff pay MORE and Joyce BeattyJoyce Birdson BeattyAdvocates warn against complacency after Chauvin verdict Democrats demand Biden administration reopen probe into Tamir Rice's death DOJ to probe Minneapolis police MORE. Progressive activist John Russell is also running, as is former Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, who is running as a more moderate alternative.