COLUMBUS, Ohio – President Donald Trump will stump in central Ohio Saturday in support of Republican congressional candidate Troy Balderson, who is locked in a competitive special election race.
Balderson, currently a state senator, faces Democrat Danny O'Connor in Ohio's 12th congressional district — a traditionally Republican district that Democrats hope to flip. The district includes Columbus' northern suburbs.
The special election will be held Tuesday. It will determine who will fill the remaining months of former Rep. Pat Tiberi's term. Tiberi announced in October 2017 that he was leaving Congress to take a job as president of the Ohio Business Roundtable.
Balderson has some power in his corner: Trump repeatedly endorsed the state senator. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday stumped for Balderson in Newark. And Ohio Gov. John Kasich appeared in an ad touting Balderson.
Republicans have held the district for decades. Tiberi and Kasich held versions of the central Ohio district over the years. Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district, which voted for Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton by 11 percentage points in 2016.
Still, Democrats are hoping to turn the district blue by driving enthusiastic voters to the polls. Democrats hold the advantage in early voting.
If Balderson loses, the race could reflect on Trump's popularity in the Midwest before the November midterm elections.
Trump tweeted messages of support for Balderson on Saturday morning: "Troy is strong on Crime, the Border & loves our Military, Vets & 2nd Amendment. His opponent is a puppet of Nancy Pelosi/high taxes."
Follow Jessie Balmert on Twitter: @jbalmert