Nets Claim Ohio Race ‘Too Close to Call,’ See ‘Moral Victory’ for Dems

On Wednesday, the network morning shows all claimed the outcome of Ohio’s 12th Congressional District special election was “too close to call” despite Republican candidate Troy Balderson seeming to have won a narrow victory over Democrat Danny O’Connor. Despite that apparent result, reporters desperately spun the likely Democratic defeat as a “moral victory” and predicted electoral doom for the GOP in November’s midterm elections.

“Too Close to Call. Ohio’s critical House race comes down to the wire....This morning, the candidates less than 1% apart. The Democrat within striking distance,” co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed at the top of NBC’s Today show. Minutes later, correspondent Garrett Haake sneered: “Republican Troy Balderson delivering a delivery speech in Ohio late last night without a clear-cut victory.”

 

 

Wrapping up his report, Haake parroted Democratic spin about the expected loss:

Democrats believe if they can put a district this reliably red, if they can make it this close, then there are potentially dozens of other less-Republican districts that they could really compete in, in November. And that’s a theory they’ll test even if their only victory here ends up being a moral one.

Leading off ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos announced: “Special election surprise. Overnight, the high-stakes race. A safe GOP seat now too close to call. But Republicans declare victory, President Trump takes credit.” Talking to Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl about the results minutes later, the anchor argued: “And, Jon, the GOP may squeak out a win in Ohio, but the fact that it’s this close, a real warning sign for Republicans come November.”

Karl agreed: “It sure is, George. And the Republican candidate in Ohio will probably eke out a narrow victory, but the closeness of this race in such a solidly-Republican district is a signal of big problems ahead for Republicans.”

“A high-stakes congressional election in Ohio is just too close to call this morning. Ed O’Keefe is on the ground in the Buckeye State with how both Democrats and Republicans are claiming a victory,” touted co-host Gayle King as she opened CBS This Morning. Minutes later, she reiterated: “Republicans are claiming victory in a closely-watched congressional race in Ohio that is officially, as you’ve heard, too close to call.”

Holding up a newspaper as he began his report, O’Keefe declared: “The Columbus Dispatch calls this race a ‘nail-biter,’ and it sure is. But those provisional ballots can’t be counted for another 10 days. Even if they lose, Democrats say that the close margin suggests big trouble for the GOP here in Ohio and across the country this fall.”

Back in March, when Democrat Conor Lamb barely won a special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District by a mere 627 votes, and before all provisional and absentee ballots had been counted, the networks had no hesitation in declaring him the apparent winner. In fact, much of the coverage on the morning shows the day after simply took Lamb’s word for it, with reporters offering headlines like: “Democrat Conor Lamb declaring a huge upset victory in that Pennsylvania election seen as a referendum on President Trump.”  

On Wednesday morning, CNN’s New Day engaged in similar hypocrisy.

The networks became so swept up the euphoria of Democrats supposedly scoring a “moral victory” – but not an actual one – in Tuesday’s Ohio congressional race that CBS’s O’Keefe and NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd both predicted liberals would gain dozens of House seats in November’s midterm elections.

 

 

On CBS This Morning, O’Keefe excitedly told fill-in co-host Bianna Golodryga:

So Democrats say, “If we can run the table here in this suburban Ohio district, just imagine what we’re gonna be able to do in the south, out west, in the mid-Atlantic.” There are plenty of opportunities for them to get the 23 seats they need. And if you’re getting this close in a district like this, it suggests they’re gonna get north of 30, maybe closer to 40 seats in November if this keeps up.

Appearing on NBC’s Today show, Todd went even further:

And this is why Democrats, I think, are now heavy favorites to take control of the House. I think the question really is the size. Is it 30 seats, 40 seats, 50 seats? They have a night like this, like they did in Ohio, they could win 40 to 60 seats.

Whether Democrats lose or win elections, they will always be winners in the eyes of the liberal media.

Here are excerpts of the August 8 coverage on NBC’s Today show:

7:00 AM ET TEASE

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:  Breaking overnight, Too Close to Call. Ohio’s critical House race comes down to the wire.

DANNY O’CONNOR [D-OH]: Can you believe how close this is?

GUTHRIE: This morning, the candidates less than 1% apart. The Democrat within striking distance in a district the president won big last time around, and that’s gone Republican for the last four decades. We’re live in Ohio where the very last votes are being counted.

(...)

7:03 AM ET

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Too Close to Call; Trump-Backed Candidate in Ohio Slightly Ahead]

GARRETT HAAKE: Republican Troy Balderson delivering a delivery speech in Ohio late last night without a clear-cut victory.

TROY BALDERSON [R-OH]: Over the next three months, I’m going to do everything I can to keep America great again.

HAAKE: When all the votes are counted, the Ohio state senator will likely head to Congress, continuing the Republican Party’s three-decade long hold on this seat, but just barely.

(...)

7:04 AM ET

HAAKE: This was supposed to be safe territory for Republicans. But like the rest of the country, attitudes are shifting here. The wealthy, well-educated suburbs around Columbus tilting more towards Democrat, while in the more rural counties, there is swelling support for President Trump and his agenda. Democrats had hoped to flip enough voters like Jim Greer, a lifelong Republican from the suburbs turned off by President Trump.

JIM GREER: I almost feel like the president feels as if he’s an autocrat instead of an elected official. And I don’t like that.

HAAKE: But the Republican firewall held in the face of fired up Democrats, who aren’t giving up just yet.

DANNY O’CONNOR [D-OH]: Can you believe how close this is?

HAAKE: Democrat Danny O’Connor promising to continue to fight into November, when these two candidates will face off again.

O’CONNOR: We went door to door! We went house to house! We made our case for change! We’re going to make that case tomorrow! We’re not stopping now! Tomorrow we rest, and then we keep fighting through to November!

HAAKE: Democrats believe if they can put a district this reliably red, if they can make it this close, then there are potentially dozens of other less-Republican districts that they could really compete in, in November. And that’s a theory they’ll test even if their only victory here ends up being a moral one.

(...)

Here is a full transcript of Karl’s August 8 report on ABC’s GMA:

7:00 AM ET TEASE

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Special election surprise. Overnight, the high-stakes race. A safe GOP seat now too close to call. But Republicans declare victory, President Trump takes credit. What it means for the midterms.

7:05 AM ET SEGMENT

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We move to politics. Lots of results coming in overnight from high-stakes primaries in several states. The big prize of the night, a House seat in Ohio so close the official result has not been called. But President Trump and the Republicans are claiming victory. Let’s bring in our Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl. And, Jon, the GOP may squeak out a win in Ohio, but the fact that it’s this close, a real warning sign for Republicans come November.

JON KARL: It sure is, George. And the Republican candidate in Ohio will probably eke out a narrow victory, but the closeness of this race in such a solidly-Republican district is a signal of big problems ahead for Republicans.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Too Close to Call; Does Tight Race Mean Trouble for Republicans?]

With a lead of less than a single percentage point, Ohio Republican House candidate Troy Balderson is declaring victory.

TROY BALDERSON [R-OH]: I’d like to thank President Trump. [Cheers]

KARL: President Trump is also declaring victory and claiming credit. But with a razor-thin lead and provisional ballots yet to be counted, a recount is still a possibility. Democrat Dan O’Connor isn’t conceding, and whoever wins, the two candidates will have a rematch in November.

DANNY O’CONNOR: We are in a tie ball game. We’re not stopping now! Tomorrow we rest, and then we keep fighting through to November!

KARL: This race should have been an easy Republican victory. The district is about as solidly Republican as they come. President Trump won there by 11 points in 2016, and in the last House race, the Republican incumbent won by more than 35 points. In fact, a Democrat has won here only once since the 1930s.

Republicans dumped millions of dollars into the race and President Trump came to Ohio over the weekend to give Republican Balderson a boost. “After my speech Saturday night,” the president tweeted, “there was a big turn for the better. Now Troy wins a great victory during a very tough time of year for voting.” During that speech, the president predicted that widely-expected Democratic victories in November won’t materialize.

DONALD TRUMP: So, why would that be a blue wave? I think it could be a red wave. I tell you what, really, I think it should be a red wave. [Cheers and applause]

KARL: The unexpectedly close race in Ohio is just the latest sign of trouble for Republicans. Democrat Conor lamb winning a special election earlier this year in a solidly Republican Pennsylvania district and Democrat Doug Jones winning the Senate seat late last year in solidly-Republican in Alabama.

In another hotly-contested race, there’s still no victory in the Kansas Republican primary for governor. President Trump made a late endorsement of controversial candidate Kris Kobach, a hard-right, staunchly anti-immigration candidate who chaired President Trump’s disbanded Commission on Voter Fraud. Many Republicans think he is just too conservative to win the general election.

“He is a fantastic guy who loves his State and our Country,” Trump tweeted Monday. “he will be a GREAT governor and has my full & total Endorsement!” That Twitter boost was not enough to easily push Kobach over the line. With more votes to count, he is neck and neck with his opponent, the sitting Republican governor of Kansas, Jeff Colyer.

The president hopes to blunt any Democratic enthusiasm by campaigning nonstop in the fall. But Democrats, pointing to the president’s unpopularity in many of the competitive districts this election cycle, say they too would like to see the president out there as much as possible. George?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, both sides looking at that. Okay, Jon, thanks very much.  

Here is a full transcript of O’Keefe’s August 8 report on CBS This Morning:

7:00 AM ET TEASE

GAYLE KING: A high-stakes congressional election in Ohio is just too close to call this morning. Ed O’Keefe is on the ground in the Buckeye State with how both Democrats and Republicans are claiming a victory.

7:03 AM ET SEGMENT

GAYLE KING: We begin with this, Republicans are claiming victory in a closely-watched congressional race in Ohio that is officially, as you’ve heard, too close to call. Republican Troy Balderson leads Democrat Danny O’Connor by more than 1,700 votes in a special election that the GOP has controlled for more than three decades.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Election officials say more than 8,000 absentee and provisional blots must be counted before they can declare a winner. Ed O’Keefe is in Columbus, Ohio with what the close vote could mean for the November midterm elections. Ed, good morning.

ED O’KEEFE: Good morning, Bianna. The Columbus Dispatch calls this race a “nail-biter,” and it sure is. But those provisional ballots can’t be counted for another 10 days. Even if they lose, Democrats say that the close margin suggests big trouble for the GOP here in Ohio and across the country this fall.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Battle in the Buckeye State; Ohio Congressional Special Election Too Close to Call]

DANNY O’CONNOR [D-OH]: Can you believe how close this is?

O’KEEFE: Declining to concede, Democrat Danny O’Connor says he’s waiting until all votes are counted.

O’CONNOR: We need to make sure that this process is respected because too many people have worked too word, too many people want to have a real voice in Washington.

O’KEEFE: But Republican candidate Troy Balderson declared victory, leading by less than one point.

TROY BALDERSON [R-OH]: I’m going to promise to you that I’m going to work relentlessly, relentlessly for this 12th Congressional District. [Cheers]  

O’KEEFE: Republicans have controlled this suburban congressional district for more than 30 years, and usually win by double digits. But in the final weeks of the race, O’Connor closed the gap by calling for new leadership in Washington. Ohio Democratic Chairman David Pepper.  

DAVID PEPPER: So if we can learn the lessons from this, talk to swing voters, I actually think we have a chance to do great things all over the state.

DONALD TRUMP [AUGUST 4]: Troy Balderson, he is the guy.

O’KEEFE: Another factor in Ohio, President Trump, who won the district by 11 points in 2016, and campaigned for Balderson over the weekend.

TRUMP: We have a man that’s going to fight for you, he’s going to fight for Ohio.

O’KEEFE: Mr. Trump tweeted late Tuesday that because he showed up in Ohio, “there was a big turn for the better. Now Troy shares a great victory.”

BALDERSON: I’d like to thank President Trump. [Cheers]

O’KEEFE: But some Democrats said the president’s visit here drove hem to the polls.

I get a sense him coming probably made you even more determined to vote for the Democrat.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [OHIO VOTER]: Absolutely. I was gonna vote anyway, but that definitely pulled me out.

O’KEEFE: Democrats and Republicans spent more than $8 million on this special election, a big sum for a race in the middle of the summer. And here’s the thing, no matter who wins this first round, there’s gonna be a rematch because Troy Balderson and Danny O’Connor, they’re their parties’ nominees for the general election in November. Vlad?

VLADIMIR DUTHIERS: As always, all eyes on Ohio. Ed, thanks very much.


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