Republican Troy Balderson has a 50.2% lead in Ohio’s 12th District special election over Democrat Danny O’Connor, who has 49.3% of the vote, to take over for Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi. The Republicans have held this seat for decades, but the Democrats saw an opportunity to give life to their supposed “blue wave” and poured an insane amount of money and attention into flipping this seat.

Despite the vote count, both sides have claimed victory on this one. Yes, even the Democrats. They got so close, but does it matter? Should the Republicans be worried that it took a slim margin to win a historically Republican seat?

The district still needs to count 3,435 provisional ballots and 5,048 outstanding absentee ballots. The Ohio “state board of elections cannot begin counting those additional ballots until the 11th day after the election, August 18th.”

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air summarized the Ohio law:

According to Ohio law, recounts are automatically triggered when the final margin of victory is less than 0.5% of the ballots cast (0.25% for statewide offices). The margin now (~0.8%) comes close to that trigger level. If this goes to an automatic recount, we might also see a challenge too, based on the recount outcome. That would create a weeks-long mess that could take us to the actual midterm election, where Balderson and O’Connor will have a rematch.

Say the results stick and Balderson wins. Does it matter that the Democrats came close? Should the Republicans worry?

Ambinder is 100% correct because Ohio’s 12th district will have less attention in November than it did on Thursday, August 7, 2018, when both men will go head-to-head again for the general election.

Here’s another excellent point:

At the same time, though, this is a Republican seat. I don’t think the Democrats should tout it as a moral victory, but the Republicans should look at strategy going towards November.

The New York Times published an article on August 6th about the Republican strategy in this district:

But Republicans say their messaging is intended to polarize the electorate and exploit the national Democratic Party’s leftward shift, jolting complacent conservatives and denying Mr. O’Connor, an easygoing 31-year-old official in Franklin County, the chance to win over disaffected Republicans.

Mr. O’Connor’s campaign has projected an air of defiance, tinged with amusement, at the onslaught against him. One wall of his headquarters, in a converted clothing store in Columbus, is collaged with brutally negative Republican campaign mail: Two mail pieces show images of armored police officers, with text claiming Mr. O’Connor, who favors stricter gun regulation, supports seizing legal firearms. Another depicts Mr. O’Connor hanging from marionette strings held by Ms. Pelosi.

Echoing Representative Conor Lamb, the upset winner of a March special election near Pittsburgh, Mr. O’Connor vowed early not to support Ms. Pelosi. He said in an interview that, by focusing on her, Republicans signaled their own weakness.

“It tells me they have nothing else to talk about,” Mr. O’Connor said, adding: “I’ve said, time and time again: ‘I won’t vote for her. I won’t vote for her.’”

But in a stumble that delighted Republicans, Mr. O’Connor briefly appeared to put an asterisk on that position late last month. Insisting on MSNBC that he opposed Ms. Pelosi, Mr. O’Connor allowed that he would ultimately back the consensus Democrat for speaker over a Republican on the House floor — a formula that theoretically preserves Ms. Pelosi as an option.

Do you notice what’s missing on those ads that O’Connor displayed in his office? The economy. Yes, I value the second amendment and I love my guns. Yes, I despise Nancy Pelosi and get sick to my stomach at the thought of her leading the House again.

That doesn’t change the fact that the majority of people care about the economy and holy cow the economy is a gift to the Republicans. Use it while you still can because the tariffs might change all of that.

Look at all these jobs reports from President Donald Trump’s tenure. Unemployment is at 3.9% and hardly anyone has faced layoffs. There are more jobs than people seeking jobs. Wages went up 2.7% compared to a year ago.