BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. — President Trump boasted of his political prowess the morning after Republicans were on the cusp of winning a long-held GOP House seat in Ohio, predicting a “giant red wave” in November in which his favored candidates will glide to victory.
Trump traveled to the central Ohio district this past weekend to give a last-minute boost to Republican Troy Balderson, who is leading against Democrat Danny O’Connor in a race that was too close to call as of Wednesday afternoon. And in Kansas, Kris Kobach — the Trump-backed secretary of state who is running for governor — held a lead of fewer than 200 votes over incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer.
Balderson’s margin of less than 1 percent came in a district that Trump won by 11 points in 2016 and where Republicans have held control since 1983. In midterm elections, Democrats need to win 23 Republican-held seats to claim the House majority, and the party is optimistic about its chances based on enthusiasm and opposition to Trump.
“As long as I campaign and/or support Senate and House candidates (within reason), they will win! I LOVE the people, & they certainly seem to like the job I’m doing,” Trump tweeted Wednesday during his 11-day working vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. “If I find the time, in between China, Iran, the Economy and much more, which I must, we will have a giant Red Wave!”
If the current numbers hold, Trump-endorsed candidates were widely successful on Tuesday night — although some faced only a nominal primary challenge. In addition to supporting Balderson and Kobach, Trump endorsed several GOP candidates who locked down the nomination on Tuesday: Josh Hawley, who is challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri; Rep. Kevin Yoder, running for reelection in his eastern Kansas district and Bill Schuette, the Michigan attorney general who is vying to become the state’s next governor.
Trump effusively praised another GOP candidate who won his nomination Tuesday — Michigan Republican John James, who is running against Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow — with a tweet praising James as a “future STAR of the Republican Party.”
The president also crowed — inaccurately — about the Republican Party’s track record in House special elections during his presidency. The GOP has won eight of the 10 special House races since Trump took office in January 2017, although Trump acknowledged just one GOP loss — probably Democrat Conor Lamb’s win in a heavily Republican district in western Pennsylvania in March.
“The Republicans have now won 8 out of 9 House Seats, yet if you listen to the Fake News Media you would think we are being clobbered,” he tweeted. “Why can’t they play it straight, so unfair to the Republican Party and in particular, your favorite President!”
Trump has been largely out of public view during his vacation in Bedminster. He held a dinner benefiting the National Republican Senatorial Committee earlier this week and will host another one Wednesday night for Protect the House, a joint fundraising committee led by Vice President Pence and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a close Trump ally.
Earlier Wednesday morning, Trump also tweeted “5 for 5!” A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for clarification on what Trump meant by that tweet.