U.S. midterm primaries in four states yield no easy winner

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-09 18:24:57|Editor: Yurou
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Midterm primaries in four U.S. states and a special election for a House seat in the state of Ohio yielded no easy winners but abundant uncertainty as the November midterms draw near.

Primaries were held in the states of Michigan, Missouri, Kansas and Washington, but it was the special election in the 12th Congressional district of Ohio that drew the spotlight.

After former Congressman Pat Tiberi resigned from his post early this year, both Republicans and Democrats have been vying for the seat which represented swaths of suburbs in the city of Columbus.

Pitted against each other in the special election were Republican Troy Balderson, a state senator, and Danny O'Connor, a 31-year-old rising star in the Democratic Party.

From the onset, this looked like a lopsided race with Balderson clearly in advantage on a number of fronts. The congressional district has voted for Republicans for the past 35 years, but on Tuesday the advantages did not translate into a clear win for Balderson as the two men had less than 2,000 votes' difference, or 0.9 percentage points.

With more than 3,000 provisional ballots yet to be counted and a potential recount should the support rate between the two top candidates be less than half a percentage point, it will take weeks before anyone can be officially declared the winner.

President Donald Trump, who held a rally in Ohio over the weekend to boost support for Balderson, did not wait for the official result to tweet out his congratulations for the candidate, saying he won an important and special election.

But the touted victory was downplayed by analysts, who say the indecisive lead Balderson commanded despite his towering advantages showed just how much ground Democrats have gained by rallying voters under the anti-Trump banner.

In a similar election in Pennsylvania earlier this year, a Democrat candidate pulled an upset against his Republican opponent in a congressional district that Trump carried by almost 20 points in 2016.

According to U.S. media, large swaths of regions have leaned more favorable to Democrats after Trump was elected, setting the stage for a change of power in the House of Representatives.

Trump, who enjoys unshakable support among conservatives, has proven to be ineffective in energizing swing voters to come out and vote for Republican candidates he endorsed.

Many Republicans even fear the candidates he has endorsed, many of whom share similar traits with the president, will be more vulnerable when competing against their Democratic opponents.

Wall Street Journal White House correspondent Julie Bykowicz said Trump should focus more on the economy, which is doing well at the moment, rather than distracting voters with other issues.

She said firing up a Twitter war with basketball star LeBron James, who has played for years in Ohio, was not a smart move.

On top of the concern for Trump's effects on inter-party voting, there are signs that Trump's sway in intra-party primaries is diminishing.

In the race for governorship in the state of Kansas, Trump endorsed Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas, who was seen as the underdog in the race against incumbent Governor Jeff Colyer. But the support failed to lift Kobach to a clear win Tuesday.

Trump did find solace in his pick for Michigan's Senate primary, African American and combat veteran John James, who pulled ahead nearly 10 points against his opponent, Sandy Pensler.