WESTERVILLE, Ohio - President Donald Trumpâ€™s preferred congressional candidate - and his chief legislative achievement - are about to be tested in battleground Ohio in the seasonâ€™s final high-stakes special election.
The midsummer affair comes as Trumpâ€™s shadow looms over primary contests in four other states on Tuesday, none bigger than Kansas, where the Republican president roiled the governorâ€™s race Monday by opposing the sitting GOP governor on the eve of the election.
The races, like dozens before them, pit the strength of the Republican presidentâ€™s fiery coalition against the Democratic Partyâ€™s anti-Trump resistance. The results will help determine the political landscape - and Trumpâ€™s standing within his own party - just three months before the GOP defends its House and Senate majorities across the nation.
Voters in Ohio and Kansas join those across Missouri, Michigan and Washington state at the ballot box. But only Ohio will send someone to Congress after votes are counted.
The script for Ohioâ€™s special election is perhaps familiar: An experienced Trump loyalist, two-term state Sen. Troy Balderson, is fighting off a strong challenge from a fresh-faced Democrat, 31-year-old county official Danny Oâ€™Connor, in a congressional district held by the Republican Party for more than three decades. In an early, election morning tweet, Trump said Balderson would make a â€śgreat congressman.â€ť
The winner will fill the seat previously held by Pat Tiberi, a nine-term Republican incumbent who resigned to take a job with an Ohio business group.
Trump himself campaigned at Baldersonâ€™s side just 72 hours before Election Day, a weekend appearance to help energize his loyalists in a district the president carried by 11 percentage points.
The race has centered on Trumpâ€™s tax cuts at times as much as the candidates themselves.