Refusing to slow down, state Sen. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, continued his campaign for the November midterm election for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District in Delaware County Saturday.
“I think it’s going to be close again,” he said while campaigning at the Harlem Township Days Festival.
Balderson and his team have declared victory in the too-close-to-call Aug. 7 special election for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District seat in which he faced off against Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor, D-Columbus, for the right to finish out Rep. Pat Tiberi’s term expiring Jan. 3, 2019.
Currently, the unofficial results show about a 1 percentage point difference in Balderson’s lead over O’Connor. Joe Manchik, G-Reynoldsburg, also a candidate in the race, came in a very distant third to O’Connor.
The official results of the race will be certified by the Franklin County Board of Elections, the most populous county in the district, on Aug. 24.
Balderson, walking around the festival taking a look at old steam engines and tractors while shaking hands with festivalgoers, said he thinks the voter turnout in November will be even larger for both sides.
“I think it’s still going to be very close. I mean it will be tight,” he said. “Polling organizations said it was going to be this big a spread or that big of a spread. That wasn’t true. Here we are, and I think it’s going to be close again.”
If Balderson is declared the official winner of the special election, he’ll only have a couple of months to gain an understanding of Washington and Congress before the November midterms.
“It’s an honorable thing for me to go over there and raise my right hand,” he said. “I’m going there to represent the 12th Congressional District. That’s the most important thing, and then I’m going to come back and be working for the people.
“This whole campaign has been based on record versus rhetoric. I’ve done that in the state legislature, so I have an understanding of Washington and I know what I need to do to start getting things done,” he said. “It will be me rolling my sleeves up and gettin’ to it.”
Balderson said it’s about being able to go to the table to do legislation for regulation issues and workman compensation issues.
“I have that understanding having dealt with those issues,” he said. “I think it’s very important for our legislators to have a small business understanding. At the state legislature, we have a lot of small business owners in there. I believe because we’ve had to deal with some of those issues first hand, they have given us a better understanding of what’s going on.”
Balderson was asked if he would support Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio 4th Congressional District), R-Urbana, for Speaker of the House.
“I have not focused on that at all. Everybody keeps asking me that, and you know I’m not going to. I have to win this race,” he said. “I won by just 1 percentage point. That tells everybody how important and how much work I have to put into this. I’m not going to be supporting any Republican if I don’t get there.”
During the Republican Primary in May, Jordan supported Liberty Township Trustee Melanie Leneghan for the 12th Congressional District seat, and he made an unannounced appearance during President Trump’s campaign rally for Balderson earlier this month.
Balderson’s campaign manager, Jenna Knepper, said their “grassroots game is really strong and aggressive.”
“We’ll be doing stops in Franklin County, Delaware County and Licking doing meet and greets and putting Troy in front of as many people as possible,” she said. “We haven’t let up, we had staff and volunteers going out door-to-door this morning.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.