Ohio Democratic congressional candidate Danny O’Connor bashed President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE on Wednesday after the Franklin County Recorder appeared to have lost in the state’s hotly contested House special election.
Trump, who campaigned for O’Connor’s GOP opponent state Sen. Troy Balderson (R) ahead of the special election Tuesday night, declared victory after Balderson held onto a razor-thin lead in Ohio’s longtime GOP-held 12th District.
“I don’t think he knows what he is talking about,” O’Connor said during an interview on CNN on Wednesday when asked what he thought of Trump’s efforts to boost his opponent.
“You don’t walk our roads, you don’t have kids in our schools, you don’t deal with the public health crisis of addiction we have in our state every day,” he said.
O’Connor was trailing Balderson 49.3 percent to 50.2 percent with all precincts reporting on Wednesday morning, though the race remained too close to call, with thousands of provisional ballots still to be counted.
Regardless of the outcome, the close election has raised alarm bells for Republicans ahead of the November midterms, given that Trump won the Ohio district by 11 points in 2016.
Balderson and O’Connor are already on the November ballot to face off for a full, two-year term to represent the district previously held by retired Rep. Pat TiberiPatrick (Pat) Joseph TiberiOhio New Members 2019 Many authors of GOP tax law will not be returning to Congress GOP Rep. Balderson holds onto seat in Ohio MORE (R).
O’Connor emphasized on CNN his independence from Washington, saying D.C. needs “new leadership.”
“One thing I like to ask folks is what do they worry about, what keeps them up at night, and it’s rising health-care costs, it’s the thought of having their social security or Medicare cut,” O’Connor said.
He argued he could be an “independent voice” for his constituents on those key issues while arguing that Balderson would do “whatever Washington, D.C., tells him to do.”
O’Connor also took aim at establishment Democrats on Wednesday.
When asked on MSNBC if he would support Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Pelosi: Georgia primary ‘disgrace’ could preview an election debacle in November MORE (D-Calif.) to be Speaker if Democrats took control of the House in the fall, O’Connor replied, “No, I won’t.”
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“We really need new leadership,” O’Connor said, explaining that the special election’s results show that “the same old politics aren’t working.”
“The desire to fight things out in the partisan nature instead of being pragmatic and finding solutions isn’t getting the job done for working families,” he said.