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Troy Balderson with President Donald Trump. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Republicans are claiming a victory by less than 2,000 votes in the Ohio special election.

Expand chart
Data: Associated Press; Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: Troy Balderson may have claimed victory over Democrat Danny O’Connor (who's not conceding yet), but after out-spending Democrats five-to-one and winning by less than one percentage point, it's not much for Republicans to celebrate.

Be smart: This race was more about Trump vs. Nancy Pelosi than Balderson, and his victory gives Republicans evidence that their tried-and-true playbook still works.

  • The president campaigned with Balderson just days before the primary and Republicans tied O’Connor to a number of ads tying him to Pelosi.

President Trump immediately claimed victory, tweeting: "When I decided to go to Ohio for Troy Balderson, he was down in early voting 64 to 36. That was not good. After my speech on Saturday night, there was a big turn for the better."

The bottom line: Republicans will sleep a little easier tonight, but this victory won't reassure them that the House isn't lost come November. There's no reason a district that is overwhelmingly white and that voted for Trump by 11 points in 2016 should've been this close.

  • This is a telling statement from Congressional Leadership Fund Executive Director Cory Bliss: "While we won tonight, this remains a very tough political environment and moving forward, we cannot expect to win tough races when our candidate is being outraised. Any Republican running for Congress getting vastly outraised by an opponent needs to start raising more money."

One more thing: There are 79 GOP districts more competitive than Ohio's 12th, where Trump got less than the 53% he earned in this district in 2016.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Report: Pentagon watchdog finds Ronny Jackson drank on duty and harassed staff

Rep. Ronny Jackson walking through the Canon Tunnel to the U.S. Capitol in January. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) allegedly made "sexual and denigrating" comments about a female staffer, drank alcohol and took sleeping medication while working as White House physician, according to a report obtained by CNN Tuesday night.

Driving the news: The Department of Defense inspector general's report stems from a years-long investigation. Jackson has called the allegations "false and fabricated."

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.