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Wright State University graduate wins U.S. Congressional primary

Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor — a Wright State University graduate — is the Democratic nominee in Ohio Congressional District 12, according to the Associated Press.

O’Connor’s Republican opponent in November is not yet known. The GOP primary to replace Rep. Pat Tiberi has become a squeaker, with state Sen. Troy Balderson of Zanesville holding a narrow lead over Liberty Township Trustee Melanie Leneghan as of late Tuesday night.

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The 10-way GOP race was viewed as a test whether the more business-friendly, Chamber-of-Commerce-wing of the party — represented by Tiberi, a Genoa Township Republican who served the district for 17 years — or the more ultraconservative wing — represented by Rep. Jim Jordan, an Urbana Republican who endorsed Leneghan — would dominate.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report in Washington rates the general election race a toss-up; the University of Virginia Center for Politics says it “leans Republican.”

Last week, one Ohio Republican who spoke only on the condition of anonymity acknowledged, “O’Connor is a heck of a candidate. If he emerges from that race, he will be a formidable candidate.”

With nearly 88 percent of precincts reporting, Green Party candidate Joe Manchik received 161 votes.

The three candidates will face each other in an August 7 special election and then again in the Nov. 6 general election. Its timing could put the 12th District special election squarely in the center of the political universe — occurring when Congress is in recess and at a moment when political reporters will be looking for insight into who will win Congress in November.

Republican Pat Tiberi represented the district from 2001 until this year, when he resigned to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable. The district was occupied by John Kasich from his upset in 1982 through his first presidential run in 2000, when his former aide Tiberi took the seat.

The winner of the general election will represent a central Ohio district that includes all of Delaware, Licking and Morrow counties as well as parts of Franklin, Marion, Muskingum and Richland counties.

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