US Democrats enjoyed a major morale boost on Wednesday following elections that highlighted their momentum ahead of November's midterms, as US President Donald Trump's Republicans sweated the outcome of a congressional contest that was supposed to be easy pickings.
Trump declared victory for a fellow Republican in Tuesday's Ohio race even though it remained too close to call. But the fact Democrats had even competed in the solidly red district was the latest example of amped up grassroots energy in the opposition camp, and exposed the vulnerabilities of Republicans just three months before the elections that will determine whether Republicans maintain control of Congress.
The race carries immense implications, as it is the final direct face-off between Republicans and Democrats before the November midterms, and Trump's party was holding its breath about a race that was turning out to be a referendum on the president.
Trump, who made an 11th-hour campaign stop in Ohio's 12th district for state senator Troy Balderson, looked to past victories to boost his argument that Republicans were not in trouble.
"The Republicans have now won 8 out of 9 House Seats" in special elections since Trump's inauguration, the president tweeted. "Yet if you listen to the Fake News Media you would think we are being clobbered."
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