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If Balderson's 1,766 vote margin holds up, Democrats still need a net gain of 23 seats to take back the majority, and Republicans still need to hold on to 61 seats to maintain the majority.

The Associated Press does not declare winners in races subject to an automatic recount.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Balderson had a 1,754-vote lead over O'Connor, with more than 202,000 votes cast. Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Trump critic, endorsed Balderson and Vice President Mike Pence visited.

The suburban Columbus district has been in Republican hands for nearly four decades and voted for President Trump by 11 points in 2016, so by all accounts the race shouldn't even be close.

In the Republican primary for Kansas governor, Trump on Monday endorsed Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state known for his crusade for restrictive voting laws, over incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer. "At our core we've always been a party about people - how we empower people against big corporations and against the exploitation we've seen for a long time". "That was not good", the president tweeted.

Voters are heading to the polls to decide key races including governor where seven Republicans and five Democrats are seeking their party's nomination.

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In Kansas, Republicans were fighting among themselves in an unusual battle for governor in which the president sided with the incumbent's challenger.

"That this race is too close to call speaks volumes about Danny O'Connor's strength and Republicans' expensive, failed playbook", said Rep. Across the state, conservatives are challenging moderate Republicans and Democrats in a coordinated effort to reclaim legislative seats they lost two years ago.

National Democrats have turned their attention to the district since Arrington, a first-term member of the S.C. House, upset U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford in June's Republican primary.

Trump made his preference clear for Kobach.

"When you look at the economy since he began, I'd say we're moving in the right direction and need more Republicans in there to support his agenda", he said.

His opponent's campaign was described by some analysts as "not serious".

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Ohio Republicans argued that the race should be taken as a warning, but not a reason to panic.

O'Connor and his Democratic allies have railed against the tax plan, casting it as a giveaway for the rich that exacerbates federal deficits and threatens Medicare and Social Security.

Should the polarizing Kobach win the primary, some Republican operatives fear he could lose the governor's seat to Democrats this fall.

According to data obtained by TIME, Balderson had only spent $507,206 on television ads as of August 3, while O'Connor had spent over $2 million. The Republican campaign arm and its allied super PAC was forced to pick up the slack, spending more than $4 million between them. The field included Fayrouz Saad, who would be the first Muslim woman in Congress.

But political observers said the fact the race was so close in a district that Democrats have not held since Ronald Reagan was president was notable.

"Josh Hawley has established himself as a conservative champion for Missouri families, and we have no doubt he will beat Claire McCaskill this November", said Chris Hansen, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "Congratulations to a future STAR of the Republican Party, future Senator John James", Trump tweeted.

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