Scarborough: Ohio election shows GOP becoming a ‘rural party’

Results from the Ohio special election on Tuesday support the idea that the GOP is becoming a rural party that could face problems in winning over suburban voters his fall, "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough opined on Wednesday.

"This is a party, the Republican Party, that's becoming more and more every day a rural party," the former GOP congressman, a frequent critic of President TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE, said on his morning MSNBC show.

GOP candidate Troy Balderson holds a narrow lead in the special election race for a House seat, but the result is close enough that it could trigger a recount under state law. Even if Balderson wins, the results are discouraging for Republicans given the district's GOP tilt. It had been held by the GOP since 1983, and Trump won the district by 11 points.

"We don't know who's going to end up winning it. [But] regardless of who ends up winning it, Republicans certainly know as well as Democrats [that] this is another race where Republicans have underperformed," Scarborough said.

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"They underperformed in a district that is deep, deep red," the MSNBC host continued. "I think Democrats have maybe won it once since the 1930s. But you see the same thing happening: They're bleeding. Republicans are bleeding, badly, right now, in suburbs."

Republicans are worried about losing the House majority this fall. Democrats would need to gain 23 seats to win back the House, which will require victories in a number of suburban districts.

Democrats believe Trump's low approval ratings and dissatisfaction among women over his presidency could help their candidates across the country. 

Dozens of GOP seats are seen as toss-ups, and Democrats are favored by election handicappers in around 10 GOP-held seats.