Ohio Governor John Kasich (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)

Gov. Kasich makes endorsement in special congressional election

Saying Republican congressional candidate Troy Balderson “has my vote,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich appears in a TV commercial Tuesday supporting Balderson in next week’s special election to fill the seat left vacant by the retirement of Republican Pat Tiberi.

The 12th district covers part of central Ohio including most of the suburbs north and east of Columbus.

Financed by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super political action committee backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the commercial is designed to boost Balderson’s chances among more moderate GOP voters who have not displayed the same enthusiasm as Democratic voters.

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Kasich, who held the same Central Ohio congressional seat from 1983 through the end of 2000, says in the commercial that as a member of the Ohio Senate, Balderson “was a partner of mine,” helping to reduce “taxes and turning Ohio around.”

The commercial carries some risk because Kasich, who is considering a run for president in 2020, has antagonized many Republican voters with his sharp criticism of President Donald Trump.

In addition, Balderson opposed Kasich’s decision to use federal dollars made available through the 2010 health law known as Obamacare to expand coverage to more than 700,000 Ohioans who qualify for Medicaid, the joint federal and state program that provides health care for low-income people.

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The commercial will air on broadcast and cable TV throughout the district, which includes parts of Franklin County as well as Delaware and Licking counties. The election is August 7.

For Republicans, winning the seat is crucial. A Balderson loss in a reliably GOP seat would signal the Republicans would have trouble holding the U.S. House in November. The Congressional Leadership Fund is spending at least $2.6 million in the race.

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