One-on-one with 12th congressional district candidate Troy Balderson

The Spectrum

A special election right here in central Ohio next week could shed light on the direction of the Buckeye State heading into the November midterms.

The congressional seat for Ohio’s 12th district has been vacant since Republican Pat Tiberi stepped down in January. Two candidates have emerged in a tight race to fill that vacancy. On the left, Democrat and current Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor has called for a change among House leadership, while on the right, Republican state senator Troy Balderson supports several of President Donald Trump’s policies.

Voters will wind up casting ballots on the two twice — once on Tuesday to fill the seat for the rest of Tiberi’s congressional term, and then again in November in the general election.

Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence recently came to central Ohio to help stir up last-minute support for Balderson, but the candidate says he isn’t necessarily in lock-step with the current administration.

“We do disagree on things,” Balderson said about the president’s support. “For me, having the endorsement of John Kasich — I believe I am the only one in the country who has the endorsement from him and Donald Trump — I think that is meaningful to have both of them know my work ethic, to know what I’m going to do when I get to Congress.”

One of the campaign ads opposing Balderson says he will raise the retirement age and that he won’t protect Social Security or Medicare. Balderson said he just wants to make sure the programs survive.  

“My mom and dad live and survive on Social Security and Medicare,” he said. “You know, I want to reform the system. We have to. We know that Medicare is going to be insolvent by 2026 and I want Social Security and Medicare to be there for my son’s generation.”

Balderson said there are “many options” to reforming the programs that don’t necessarily raise the retirement age.   

You can watch Colleen Marshall’s full interview with Balderson above. To see Colleen’s full interview with Balderson’s opponent, Danny O’Connor, click or tap here.

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