Republicans Get Great News from Key Special Election

Republicans Get Great News from Key Special Election

House Speaker Mike Johnson is likely feeling a bit more at ease this morning after Republican Michael Rulli’s victory in Ohio’s 6th Congressional District on Tuesday night slightly bolstered his narrow Republican House majority.

Rulli was widely anticipated to win, given that former President Donald Trump won the 6th District by more than 30 points in the last two elections.

However, his 9-point margin on Tuesday was considerably less than Trump’s, providing some Democrats with a glimmer of hope for November, as reported by Politico on Wednesday morning.

Simon Rosenberg, a left-leaning political analyst and frequent contributor to MSNBC’s presidential campaign coverage, told Politico that observing voting patterns was more significant than relying on polls that have indicated President Joe Biden faces a challenging general election later this year.

“There has been a fairly consistent pattern where Democrats have overperformed expectations, overperformed public polling,” Rosenberg told Politico. “The single most powerful force in our politics is fear and opposition to MAGA,” he explained. “When the choice of MAGA and other alternatives are presented to voters, MAGA underperforms public polling.”

Jack Pandol, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, cautioned against drawing any conclusions from one special election. “It’s a special election. It’s off-calendar,” he told Politico. “Turnout is really low. I don’t think that it’s useful or instructive to try to read into this too much.” He predicted, “We will eviscerate the Democrat with presidential-level turnout, as Republicans have in the past several cycles.”

Rulli will now complete the remainder of former Rep. Bill Johnson’s term. Johnson resigned last November after accepting the presidency of Youngstown State University.

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

Rulli’s family established the Rulli Bros. grocery store in 1917 and continues to operate two locations in Ohio today, 107 years later.

Rulli will face Democrat Michael Kripchak, an Air Force veteran and former actor, again in November as they compete for a full term in the next Congress.

“Tonight’s results have not diminished our spirit,” Kripchak said in a written statement cited by the AP. “Though historically a red district, our campaign outperformed expectations, proving the doubters wrong,” he added.

Ohio’s 6th District leans Republican by nearly 3-to-2, according to data cited by the AP.

Rulli told Roll Call that he planned to “take up his predecessor Johnson’s legacy as a champion of oil and natural gas.” He stated, “I definitely don’t want to drop the ball on that,” Rulli told Roll Call.

Once he is sworn in, Rulli, a former two-term Ohio senator, will increase the Republicans’ advantage in the House to 219-213. Although a margin of six may not be substantial, it is undeniably better than five.

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