The Thinker: Rich Galen

  
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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Ohio-12

Rich Galen

Thursday August 9, 2018

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  • Let me be the lone voice in the wilderness. The razor-thin result in Ohio-12 Tuesday night was not a victory for the Democrats.

  • It was a loss.

  • One of the signatures of a "wave election" is the party that is surfing the wave wins all the close ones. The Democrats lost this one.

  • And they tried REALLY hard to win it.

  • This was close, but the Republican, Troy Balderson, is likely - not guaranteed, but likely - to be moving to Our Nation's Capital in a couple of weeks to be Ohio's newest Member of Congress. The Democrat, Danny O'Connor, will continue to be the Franklin County Recorder.

  • As I write this on Wednesday morning, Balderson is carrying a 1,754 vote lead. Still to be counted are 5,048 outstanding absentee ballots as well as 3,425 provisional ballots which have to be ruled on.

    SIDEBAR

    According to the Ohio Secretary of State's page:
    A provisional ballot is used to record a vote if a voter's eligibility is in question and the voter would otherwise not be permitted to vote at his or her polling place. The content of a provisional ballot is no different from a regular ballot, but it is cast "provisionally" until election officials can verify the voter's eligibility to vote in the particular precinct at that election.

    END SIDEBAR

  • In order for O'Conner to overtake Balderson, he needs 1,755 more than Balderson of the 8,483 provisional and absentee ballots that are ruled allowable, to break his way. Again, not impossible, but not likely.

  • That would give O'Conner a one vote victory.

  • But wait! There's more!

  • Under Ohio law, any result that finds the candidates with less than a one-half of one percent difference triggers an automatic recount.

  • I know this because I once lost an election for City Council of Marietta, Ohio 45750 by a vote of 902-900. That was 50.06% to 49.94%. The automatic recount provision was yet in the law so I chose not to pay $10 to recount each of the 26 precincts in Marietta City ($260 would have been more than I'd spent on the whole campaign).

  • Four years later I let the Mullings Director of Standards and Practices (whom I had married in the interim) run my campaign and I won an easy victory.

  • Where was I?

  • Oh, yes. It is certainly not impossible for O'Conner to overtake Balderson, but it is is an uphill climb. Although there are many examples where this has not panned out, the general theory of recounts is: Whoever was leading going into the recount will come out leading by more.

  • The national committees will have to decide what level of resources they want to put into that effort when they consider these same two - SAME TWO - candidates will run against each other again in the regular mid-term election, just 89 days from now.

  • Even if the State of Ohio pays for a recount (and the current difference is about 0.9 percent, outside the one-half of one percent trigger) there have to be poll watchers, lawyers, political and communications people on site to keep track of the counting.

  • Think: Florida 2000.

  • In spite of all the crystal ball aspects that the press corps assigned to this election, I'm not sure we learned anything.

  • Yes, this was a district that Trump won by 11 percentage points in 2016 and yes the GOP margin there was about 10 percentage points less. But, it was a special election in a mid-term year in which over $8 million was spent by both sides: $4.7 million by Rs; $3.4 million by Ds.

  • That is not likely to happen again in November when both national parties will have to decide which districts to defend and which to cast over the side in their fight to maintain (Rs) or gain (Ds) control of the U.S. House.

  • I still think Democrats will take control of the House after the November elections, but when you get down to it, the election in Ohio-12 Tuesday night was largely for bragging rights.

  • As the Democrat Danny O'Connor said in his non-concession speech Tuesday night: "We're in a tie ballgame."

  • Right now Republican Troy Balderson gets last ups and we'll see if he can hold this seat.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the NY Times' summary page of Ohio-12 results and to the Wikipedia entry for the Florida recount in 2000.

    The Mullfoto is of the stickers on the bumper of a car in front of me on the George Washington Parkway the other day.

-- END --

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