Voters head to the polls in 5 states

Frederick Owens
August 8, 2018

The year's final special election was seen as a bellwether for Mr Trump's political clout and the appeal of his signature tax cuts.

President Trump campaigned for Balderson, a 56-year-old state senator, this past weekend in an effort to energize the GOP base, but some Republicans anxious that the president's appearance could have had an adverse effect by motivating voters who don't like Trump to come out for O'Connor.

According to data obtained by TIME, Balderson had only spent $507,206 on television ads as of August 3, while O'Connor had spent over $2 million.

The suburban Columbus district has been in Republican hands for nearly four decades and voted for President Trump by 11 points in 2016, so by all accounts the race shouldn't even be close. Three mainstream Democrats are viewed as leaders to vie for retiring Republican Rep. Dave Trott's seat in November. Kobach was an immigration adviser to Trump's campaign in 2016 and vice chairman of Trump's commission to investigate voting fraud before the panel collapsed.

But political observers said the fact the race was so close in a district that Democrats have not held since Ronald Reagan was president was notable.

It's unclear whether Trump's support helps or hurts his preferred candidate of Balderson.

The 12th district has numerous hallmarks of areas that could be weak spots for Republicans this cycle - well-educated, relatively affluent suburbs that may have soured on Trump and are looking to register their frustration through their midterm vote. And it's worth remembering that while Democrats ground out wins in a number of hard-fought special elections in 2010, they lost 63 seats that fall.

Over in Kansas, Republicans are locked in an internal fight for the governorship. The race could become further disrupted if Kansas City-area businessman Greg Orman makes it onto the November ballot. "Yet not all of these races are looking secure for Republicans".

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"Kris Kobach, a strong and early supporter of mine, is running for Governor of the Great State of Kansas", Mr. Trump wrote Monday on Twitter.

"He is a fantastic guy who loves his State and our Country - he will be a GREAT Governor and has my full & total Endorsement!"

The five-way Democratic primary features labor lawyer Brent Welder, who campaigned recently with self-described democratic socialists Vermont Sen.

Voters in suburban Detroit will also weigh in on the direction of the Democratic Party.

Polls are now open for today's Kansas Democratic and Republican primaries.

The field was set in two Senate contests as well.

And while Trump claimed credit for the tight victory in a Tuesday night tweet, it's likely Kasich who deserves the game ball for helping Balderson hang on in enough suburban territory to pull out the win. Claire McCaskill claimed her party's nomination, while state Attorney General Josh Hawley will represent the GOP. He would join Tim Scott of SC as the only black Republican senators if he wins in November.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is expected to take on McCaskill, and in MI, military veteran and business executive John James is vying for the chance to knock off Stabenow.

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