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U.S. Elections

Republican wins a special election, but it’s good news for Democrats. Why?

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In a special election for Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District, the Republican candidate, Michael Rulli, secured a victory on Tuesday, June 11. Despite this win, the outcome is being interpreted as encouraging news for Democrats.

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Historically, this district has been a stronghold for Republicans, with the party winning by a 30-point margin in the last four elections. This year’s race saw a significant shift. Rulli only defeated Democrat Michael Kripchak by nine points.

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This closer margin stands out, especially considering that former president Donald Trump won the district by nearly 30 points in 2020. Former Republican House Rep. Bill Johnson, who stepped down in January to become a university president, consistently won the district by even larger margins.

Here are some of the news headlines covering the special election:

ABC News: “A closer-than-expected Ohio congressional race surprises Republicans and encourages Democrats.”

The Hill: “GOP averts disaster in Ohio shocker: 5 takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries.”

Newsweek: “Ohio Election Shock as Republican District Shifts 20 Points to Democrats.”

The Federalist: “Ignore The Polls. Republicans Have A Major Voter Turnout Problem.”

The context of previous Republican landslides in the district makes Rulli’s nine-point victory appear relatively narrow. Both candidates, Rulli and Kripchak, will face each other again in November. Special elections typically see lower voter turnout, a factor Rulli said his team knew from the start.

“We knew the polls were going to be close, and the guy I ran against really worked,” Rulli said. “He’s a really hard worker. But this is a blue-collar district, this is Bruce Springsteen, the forgotten man, ‘Joe Bag of Donuts.’ They don’t trust the Democrats and Republicans, and they look at the individual. And I’m really good at retail politics.”

“I know there’s a lot of commentary about how this is a Trumpian district, but that’s not what I learned on the campaign trail,” Kripchak said when asked about the election results. “I hope this is a wake-up call for those Democrats that seem to be in a discouraged state of mind that we can do this. Just come out and vote.”

The outcome of this special election highlights the importance of voter turnout. It is a critical factor in determining not only this House seat in the upcoming November election, but also the broader political landscape, including the race for the White House and control of Congress.

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[KARAH RUCKER]

IN A SPECIAL ELECTION HELD THIS WEEK FOR A HOUSE SEAT IN OHIO –

THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE WON –

BUT DESPITE THE RESULTS, IT’S LARGELY SEEN AS GOOD NEWS FOR **DEMOCRATS.

SO HOW IS THAT?

IT’S A DISTRICT REPUBLICANS HAVE WON WITH A 30 POINT MARGIN IN THE LAST FOUR ELECTIONS FOR THAT HOUSE SEAT.

THIS YEAR’S RACE – WAS A 9 POINT DIFFERENCE.

HERE’S A LOOK AT SOME OF THE HEADLINES COVERING THE SPECIAL ELECTION –

“A closer than expected Ohio congressional race surprises republicans and encourages Democrats.”

“GOP averts disaster in Ohio shocker.”

“Election shock as Republican district shifts 20 points to democrats.”

“Ignore the polls. Republicans have a major voter turnout problem.”

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT OHIO’S SIXTH DISTRICT.

TRUMP WON HERE IN 2020 BY ABOUT 30 PERCENTAGE POINTS.

HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE BILL JOHNSON WON THE DISTRICT IN HIS LAST FOUR ELECTIONS BY EVEN MORE THAN THAT.

JOHNSON STEPPED DOWN IN JANUARY TO BECOME A UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT – 

PAVING THE WAY FOR THIS WEEK’S SPECIAL ELECTION –

BETWEEN REPUBLICAN MICHAEL RULLI.

AND DEMOCRAT MICHAEL KRIPCHAK.

RULLI WON – BUT HIS 9 POINT VICTORY IS SEEN AS SLIM GIVEN THESE PREVIOUS LANDSLIDES IN THE DISTRICT.

THE TWO WILL FACE OFF AGAIN IN NOVEMBER SINCE THIS WAS ONLY A SPECIAL ELECTION TO FINISH JOHNSON’S TERM.

AND VOTER TURNOUT – IS TYPICALLY LOWER IN THESE SORT OF ELECTIONS.

SOMETHING RULLI SAYS HIS TEAM WAS AWARE OF FROM THE START.

RULLI SAID “WE KNEW THE POLLS WERE GOING TO BE CLOSE, AND THE GUY I RAN AGAINST REALLY WORKED. HE’S A REALLY HARD WORKER.”

ASKED ABOUT THE CLOSE ELECTION – KRIPCHAK SAID –

“I know there’s a lot of commentary about how this is a Trumpian district, but that’s not what I learned on the campaign trail.

I hope this a wake-up call for those Democrats that seem to be in a discouraged state of mind that we can do this. Just come out and vote.

WHILE POLLS CAN SUGGEST A LEAD FOR A CERTAIN POLITICAL CANDIDATE –

AND GIVE MOMENTUM TO A CAMPAIGN –

WHAT COUNTS IS WHETHER THOSE VOTERS SHOW UP TO THE POLLS TO VOTE.

VOTER TURNOUT – BEING KEY IN WHO WILL GET THIS HOUSE SEAT IN NOVEMBER.

BUT ALSO – WHO WILL TAKE THE WHITE HOUSE AND CONTROL CONGRESS.