Going in as underdogs in an Ohio special election over the summer, Democrats remain hopeful that they can clinch a win in the state’s 12th District ahead of the midterms.
The seat was left open by GOP Rep. Pat Tiberi’s surprise resignation in January, and Democrats are once again suggesting that even having a chance in a district that President Donald Trump won by 11 points in 2016 is a reason for optimism.
The Hill reports: The district is the most affluent and highest-educated in the state, home to the same kind of suburban voters who have powered huge Democratic gains in other red districts since President Trump took office.“The fact that we are even having the conversation about this district is a story,” said David Pepper, the Ohio Democratic Party chairman.
Pepper cited Democrat Conor Lamb’s apparent victory in a special House election last week in a Pennsylvania district Trump carried by 20 points in 2016.
“Conor Lamb’s lesson is that we need to compete everywhere and we can compete everywhere,” Pepper said. “That doesn’t guarantee anything, but the lesson is: the map is not a limitation.”
The Ohio district encompasses the northeast suburbs of Columbus, as well as more rural areas to the east.
That’s a demographic composition that boosts Democratic hopes that the race will be the latest where Democrats outperform Hillary Clinton’s 2016 showing.
Kyle Kondik, a University of Virginia elections analyst, said the district will likely vote Republican.
He explained, “Pennsylvania’s 18th was in Appalachia, was ancestrally Democratic. It had a Democratic voter registration advantage … Ohio 12 is historically bedrock Republican territory.”
“This is the kind of district that Republicans should hold,” Kondik continued. “But Republicans should have held Pennsylvania’s 18th, too.”