A lot of strategy goes into winning an election and the candidates for the 12th Congressional District are fighting hard for every vote.
The race remains a tight one with the polls showing it is once again in a dead heat — something that fuels news coverage of the special election for a seat that was vacated nearly two months ago.
At that time, Republican Troy Balderson pulled out the win. He barely beat challenger Danny O’Connor after weeks of television advertisements bombarded viewers at what seemed like every commercial break.
In less than two weeks, the two men will go another round. This time in the general election and this time with the next two years on the line.
Balderson’s previous win only puts him in the seat until the end of the year.
In order to keep that seat, he will need voters to return to the polls and support him once again. Meanwhile, O’Connor is trying to make up ground.
Both candidates are campaigning hard with their teams laying out a ground game to try and get them over the finish line with the most votes on the first Tuesday of November.
Both candidates are taking a different approach to get their message in front of potential voters.
Thursday, both had an opportunity to address seniors at what was described as a forum at Inniswood Village, an assisted living facility in Westerville.
Both candidates were given the same set of questions in advance and were asked to address the concerns they raised separately.
O’Connor went first.
O’Connor made it clear he was excited to have conversations about the future of the country and about making sure people who have Medicare and Social Security get the earned benefits that they have worked hard for.
“Affordable housing is something that I’m extremely passionate about and respecting people’s work and their lifetime of work is something that we need to emphasize as a country,” O’Connor said.
It was a rare event to have both candidates at the same time and the same location since the special election.
Balderson did not attend a forum the night before. He left his assigned seat vacant next to O’Connor and the Green Party candidate, who both showed up.
Balderson said he was busy at another event and couldn’t make it.
When pressed about the lack of formal debates held between himself and his challenger, O’Connor, Balderson claimed they already had them, months ago.
“Danny and I have done a lot of work for the special election and nothing has changed,” said Balderson. “I had a really big debate Aug. 7 and I won that debate.”
The debate he is referring to on Aug. 7 was the special election itself.
Since the special election was decided, Balderson says he has spent 12 days in Washington D.C. working on behalf of the people of the 12th Congressional District.
“I go to D.C. three days a week to fight for them and do what’s best for them,” Balderson said.
The rest of the time he has been campaigning, he said.
Several organizations attempted to get the candidates to agree to a formal debate, but none of them were successful in convincing Balderson’s campaign to commit to one. They prefer to do these forums.
However, like Thursday’s forum at Inniswood Village, many of them have either limited or banned the press or one of the candidates was missing.
A final opportunity for both candidates to be seen and heard together at the same time will occur in one week at the WHIZ television station in Zanesville, five days before the election.
It will not be a formal debate. Once again the candidates will be holding a forum in the television studio with no audience.
The event will be broadcast over the air in Zanesville and streamed on the internet.