The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is dropping its first television spot in Ohio's 12 Congressional District, which is home to the next special election on the calendar.
A source familiar with the buy confirmed that the committee is spending $238,000 in Columbus over the next 10 days in order to boost Danny O'Connor, the Franklin County Recorder running against Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson.
The spot focuses on tying Balderson to the GOP's tax reform law, framing the measure as prioritizing big corporations over seniors.
The new ad will give O'Connor a boost on the air from a national party that's kept its distance publicly so far. As in most red-district special elections, the national party has sought to allow O'Connor to create distance from the Democratic brand.
His campaign has been the only Democratic group up on the airwaves in the race and he's made his decision not to support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, for a leadership position a central message.
Balderson, on the other hand, has received a boost from both the National Republican Congressional Committee and the GOP-aligned super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund. The groups have combined to spend about $2 million to help Balderson, with the lion's share coming from CLF, according to data provided by Advertising Analytics.
While the boundaries have changed over the years thanks to redistricting, the seat has long been held in GOP hands. Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, held the seat during his stint in Congress and former Rep. Pat Tiberi served in it for 17 years before his retirement earlier this year.
And while O'Connor's campaign released a poll this week that showed him down by just five points, Balderson led the most recent independent poll last month by 11 points. So Republicans are confident that Balderson is in position to defend the seat, which President Trump won by 11.5 points in 2016, and avoid an embarrassing upset.
Even so, Democrats are bullish on the prospect of flipping the seat, noting that the party has overperformed with the kinds of affluent and well-educated voters who reside in the district. O'Connor also narrowly outraised Balderson during the second fundraising quarter of 2018.
The two candidates face off in the Aug. 7 special election to fill the remainder of Tiberi's term, but will also be on the ballot in November to win the right to serve a full term in January.