Balderson on Franklin County comment: "That was a mistake"

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As the fate of Tuesday's special election for Congress hangs in the balance, one candidate is trying to clean up a campaign controversy.

1,564 votes separate Republican Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O'Connor.

And there are still 8,483 uncounted provisional and absentee ballots.

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As voters wait for an official outcome, one of the candidates is for the first time, addressing a campaign controversy that caught fire the night before the election.

It was Monday night, in his final rally of the special election campaign.

Troy Balderson was speaking to supporters in his hometown of Zanesville, when he made this statement:

"My opponent is from Franklin County. Franklin County has been challenging. We don't want someone from Franklin County representing us."

Democrats seized on that statement, implying Balderson was insulting voters in one of the seven counties he's seeking to represent in Congress.

The chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party said Franklin County voters only had one day to hear Balderson's statement before voting Tuesday, but said they had 89 days more to hear it between now and the November election.

Wednesday 10TV asked Balderson about his controversial statement.

Glenn McEntyre: "'We don't want to be represented by someone from Franklin County.' What did you mean by that, and was it a mistake?"
Troy Balderson: "That was a mistake. And what I meant was, Danny O'Connor. We didn't want to have Danny O'Connor representing us. I'm going to represent this whole 12th Congressional District. In my (state) senate district, I represent every county in my district. And I will do the exact same thing with the 12th Congressional District."
Glenn McEntyre: "What do you say to folks who perceived that as a "diss" of Franklin County?"
Troy Balderson: "I'll prove it. I'm going to work and I will represent them. And my record of what I've done in the 20th Senate District, serving multiple counties, will show them that I'm going to work for every county."

10TV also asked Balderson about the president's repeated attacks on the media.

Glenn McEntyre: "You and President Trump are very closely aligned. President Trump has called the media 'The enemy of the people.' Do you agree?"
Troy Balderson: "I don't want to say the media is the enemy of the people. When you go President Trump, I support President Trump's economic agenda. I have disagreed with President Trump on some of his issues. But I don't want to call anybody evil. So that's not part of my vocabulary to say that someone's evil."

As for the still-unresolved election, under Ohio law the counting of those outstanding absentee and provisional ballots begins August 18th, and must be completed by August 24th.

At that point, the official election results will be certified. If the candidates are within point-five percent of each other, there will be an automatic recount.

The 12th Congressional District includes Licking, Delaware, and Morrow Counties, and parts of Franklin, Marion, Muskingum and Richland Counties.

Wednesday, Balderson's opponent Danny O'Connor spoke with reporters about Balderson's comment, and the possibility that some District 12 voters might be resistant to a candidate from Franklin County,

"I'll fight as hard for someone in Muskingum County or Richland County and everywhere in between as I will for someone here in Franklin County, because I want to be a seven-county congressman," said O'Connor. "I want to be someone who delivers for working families everywhere that they are.

I'll meet them in their home, I'll meet them at their doorstep. I'll knock on their door, I'll talk to them in their cafes."

Balderson declared victory Tuesday night in the Special Election, but O'Connor has not conceded, saying all the votes need to be counted.

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