Parties fight for open Ohio seat, primaries in 4 states

By Susan McFarland
Voters head to the polls Tuesday for a special House election in Ohio and primaries in Kansas, Missouri, Michigan and Washington. File Photo by Mike Nelson/EPA-EFE
Voters head to the polls Tuesday for a special House election in Ohio and primaries in Kansas, Missouri, Michigan and Washington. File Photo by Mike Nelson/EPA-EFE

Aug. 7 (UPI) -- All eyes are on four state primaries Tuesday and a special House election in Ohio, where Republicans are trying to keep their seat in the state's 12th District.

Polls opened for primaries in Kansas, Missouri, Michigan and Washington, with outcomes giving Democrats more of a clue whether they can expect a blue wave during midterm elections this fall.



President Donald Trump visited last weekend in central Ohio to support Troy Balderson, the Republican running in Tuesday's special election. Balderson faces Democrat Danny O'Connor in what will be the last congressional seat won before November.

Polls show the race is close. To prevent a mandatory recount, the winning margin must be more than 0.5 percentage points.

"Typically in the August special elections, nobody turns out, but with all the hoopla, who knows?" Aaron Ockerman, executive director of the Ohio Association of Election Officials, told The Columbus Dispatch. "If it's super close, you probably won't see either person concede."


In 2016, Trump won Ohio's 12th District by 11 points. The seat has been held by Republicans since 1980.


GOP gubernatorial candidates vying for a spot on the ballot in November include Kris Kobach, the conservative secretary of state who served on Trump's voter integrity commission, and Jeff Colyer, who was appointed after Gov. Sam Brownback left for the State Department.

Republicans are concerned unpopular budget cuts made by Brownback could make it hard to defend the seat.

Trying to flip a House seat held by GOP Rep. Kevin Wayne Yoder is Democrat Brent Welders and Sharice Davids, who the party feels has enough support to beat Yoder.


A Democratic race for the open governor's seat includes former state Senate Majority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, who is leading in the polls against Abdul El-Sayed. If El-Sayed wins both the primary and November's election, he would become the nation's first Muslim governor.

Republicans in the state are hoping to flip a Senate seat with candidate John James, an African-American Iraq War vet who got a boost from Trump's support. If James wins the primary, he will try in November to unseat three-term Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who is favored in the fall.



The state Trump carried by almost 20 points is having one of the most-contested Senate races of the year, with State Attorney General Josh Hawley expected to win Tuesday's Republican primary. If he does, he will face Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the fall.

In the House, Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay is favored to win her primary in the state's 1st District against challenger Cori Bush, a nurse and activist.


GOP Rep. David Reichert's retirement in the 8th District gives Democrats hope to take back the seat. The Republicans' top candidate, Dino Rossi, is expected to win Tuesday. Three Democrats, including former prosecutor Jason Rittereiser, will try to keep that from happening.

In the 5th District, House GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers will likely face a tough fight against former Washington State University Chancellor Lisa Brown.

Voters in the 3rd District will also choose a Democrat to face Republican incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.

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