Speaking just before Ohio's 12th congressional district race was called, declaring Republican Troy Balderson the official winner, Democrat Danny O'Connor said he will focus efforts on appealing to students ahead of the November rematch.
After the official canvass concluded on Friday, Balderson was declared the winner of this month's special election by a 0.8 percent margin. He congratulated O'Connor on a hard-fought race, and said he looked forward to representing the 12th District in Congress.
O'Connor had hoped for at least an automatic recount in the election - which are only triggered if the margin is less than 0.5 percent - but ultimately conceded the contest to Balderson. He says he is not losing hope for November.
"The grassroots army we've created is not done yet. In fact, we're just getting started," O'Connor said in a statement. "We have eleven weeks to keep talking to voters, listening to their ideas, and to bring home a win for working families in Central Ohio this November."
O'Connor lost by just 1,680 votes in the final tally. In an appearance at the Ohio Union earlier Friday, O'Connor said that now that students are back on campus, he will be able to appeal to young voters all around the district.
"One great opportunity we'll have is we'll have students back," O'Connor says. "We're here at the Ohio State University today talking to students about making sure they're going to have a representative who's going to fight back against this exorbitant cost of tuition."
Rallying student support will be a big part of O'Connor's strategy in the coming weeks.
"Having students at Ohio State, Denison, Ohio Weslyan, Otterbein, Zane State, all the branch campuses across the [district], that's gonna be an advantage for us," O'Connor said. "And we're gonna be having that conversation."
Balderson will finish the remaining term of former Rep. Pat Tiberi, and November's general election will determine who holds the 12th congressional seat for the next two years.