Ohio 12 special election: No plan for O’Connor to concede in tight race

Democrat Danny O’Connor has no plans to concede the special election for the Ohio 12th Congressional District to Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson until all provisional and absentee ballots are counted, his campaign manager tells CNN.

Annie Ellison, O’Connor’s spokeswoman and campaign manager, says the campaign is confident that the thousands of ballots left to count could bring the margin within .5%, a split that would trigger an automatic recount.

“There is totally enough of a chance that out of the ballots that are left there are enough to go for Danny and bring us within the .5 needed for an automatic recount,” Ellison said.

“We are going to do our due diligence,” she added, arguing that now is not the time for O’Connor to concede or talk with Troy.

With all early- and Election-Day-votes counted on Tuesday night, Balderson led by 0.9 percentage points. However, the Ohio secretary of state reported there are 8,483 outstanding absentee and provisional ballots left to count — much more than Balderson’s 1,754-vote lead.

The two candidates did not talk at all Tuesday night and no calls were made Wednesday morning. O’Connor spent the morning calling his “super volunteers” to thank them for all their work and get them ready to work more before November, Ellison told CNN.

“We just got the most actuate poll of what we have to do for November and I am confident we can execute that,” Ellison said. “We feel like it is half time and the first half isn’t over yet but we have to start to focus on the second half.”

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in the district, which spans north and east of Columbus, in an effort to get Republicans to vote for Balderson.

GOP Ohio Gov. John Kasich told CBS News on Wednesday that he views the election as a referendum on Trump — one which he believes Trump lost. Kasich once held the House seat from the 12th District and ran against Trump during the 2016 presidential election. Since that race, he’s been a consistent critic of the President.

“Well look, first of all, the seat is overwhelmingly Republican,” Kasich told CBS. “It shouldn’t have been this close and if this, this really, I don’t think, wasn’t a vote on Balderson or a vote on the Democrat, I think it was a vote on the President. And I think the message was you gotta stop doing what you’re doing. All these tweets, all this disruption, all this chaos, all this division, all the negativity. It has to stop. That’s what I think they were saying.”

He identified Republican voters who sat the election out and Republicans who voted for O’Connor as possible causes for the close election.

“So some Republicans sat at home, but what I think happened, and we don’t have all the numbers yet, I think you will find a lot of Republican women who not only didn’t sit at home, but a significant percentage, or some percentage of them, voted for the Democrat,” he told CBS.