Republican Scores Key Special Election Victory, Boosting GOP's House Majority


House Speaker Mike Johnson is probably breathing just a little easier this morning, as Republican Michael Rulli’s victory in Ohio’s 6th Congressional District Tuesday night gave him just a tad more breathing room in his narrow Republican House majority.

Rulli was widely expected to win, as former President Donald Trump won the 6th District by more than 30 points in the last two elections.

In fact, his 9-point margin on Tuesday was so much less than Trump’s that it was giving some Democrats cause for hope in November, Politico reported Wednesday morning.

Left-leaning political analyst Simon Rosenberg, a frequent contributor to MSNBC’s presidential campaign coverage, told Politico that watching voting was much more important than watching the polling that has shown President Joe Biden with a tough row to hoe in the general election later this year.

“There has been a fairly consistent pattern where Democrats have overperformed expectations, overperformed public polling,” Rosenberg told Politico.

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“The single most powerful force in our politics is fear and opposition to MAGA,” he explained. “When the choice of MAGA and other alternatives are presented to voters, MAGA underperforms public polling.”

Jack Pandol, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said it would be “foolish” to draw any conclusions from one special election, however.

“It’s a special election. It’s off-calendar,” he told Politico. “Turnout is really low. I don’t think that it’s useful or instructive to try to read into this too much.”

“We will eviscerate the Democrat with presidential-level turnout, as Republicans have in the past several cycles,” he predicted.

Will Republicans expand their House majority in November?

Rulli will now serve out the remainder of former Rep. Bill Johnson’s term, who accepted the presidency of Youngstown State University last November and resigned his seat in Congress.

“We knew the polls were gong to be close, and the guy I ran against really worked,” Rulli told The Associated Press. “He’s a really hard worker.

“But this is a blue-collar district, this is Bruce Springstein, the forgotten man, ‘Joe Bag of Donuts,'” he added. “They don’t trust the Democrats and Republicans, and they look at the individual. And I’m really good at retail politics.”

As well he should be, as Rulli’s family established the Rulli Bros. grocery store in 1917 and continues to operate two locations in Ohio today, 107 years later.

Rulli will again face Democrat Michael Kripchak, an Air Force veteran and former actor, in November, as the two compete for a full term in the next Congress.

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“Tonight’s results have not diminished our spirit,” Kripchak said in a written statement cited by the AP.

“Though historically a red district, our campaign outperformed expectations, proving the doubters wrong,” he added.

Ohio’s 6th District leans Republican by nearly 3-to-2, according to data cited by the AP.

Rulli told Roll Call that he planned to “take up his predecessor Johnson’s legacy as a champion of oil and natural gas.”

“I definitely don’t want to drop the ball on that,” Rulli told Roll Call.

Once he is sworn in, Rulli, a former two-term Ohio senator, will bring the Republicans’ advantage in House up to six, 219-213. And six may not be much of a margin, but it’s inarguably better than five.

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of "WJ Live," powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.
George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English as well as a Master's in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.
Foxborough, Massachusetts
Beta Gamma Sigma
B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG
North Carolina
Languages Spoken
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Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics