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Government & Politics

Ohio's 12th District Candidates O'Connor and Balderson Square Off in Contentious Special Election

A photo of voters at a polling place
Democrat Danny O'Connor and Republican Troy Balderson are competing for the seat in Ohio's 12th Congressional District that Pat Tiberi occupied.

Central Ohio voters are casting ballots in a special election for congress that has taken on national significance. The race pits a moderate Democrat against an increasingly rightward leaning Republican.

Ohio’s 12th Congressional District has been reliably Republican since the 1980s, so Democrat Danny O’Connor made a concerted effort to go after what his campaign calls “Dannycrats”—Republican voters who could make an exception for a centrist.

“When families sit down at the end of the night, they sit down around their kitchen table. They talk about what they’re worried about," O'Connor said. "They’re worried about how do they pay their mortgage, how do they save for retirement, how do they have access to healthcare. That’s not just what Democratic families do. It’s not just what Republican families do. It’s what American families do.”

Meanwhile, Republican Troy Balderson has taken to calling O’Connor "Dishonest Danny" and warning the Democrat would vote to roll back the tax cut passed earlier this year. This race will determine who gets to fill the vacancy for the rest of the term.