Republicans expand House majority with victory in Ohio special election

Republican Michael Rulli won the special election for Ohio’s 6th Congressional District, helping his party expand its narrow House majority.

Rulli, a Youngstown-area state senator and an executive for his family’s grocery store chain, defeated Democratic Air Force veteran Michael Kripchak in the race for the sprawling district along the Ohio River in eastern Ohio.

Rulli will succeed former Rep. Bill Johnson, a seven-term Republican who resigned in January to become the president of Youngstown State University.

Rulli was the heavy favorite going into Tuesday in a district that Donald Trump would have carried by 28 points under its current lines in 2020. On his way to winning the GOP nomination in March, Rulli earned endorsements from former Ohio GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken, Ohio Rep. David Joyce, who represents a neighboring district, and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday’s election was the first of two matchups between Rulli and Kripchak this year. The two are set to face off again in November, when they will compete for the full two-year term that begins in January.

Adding Rulli to their ranks will help Republicans pad their slim House majority. The party will hold 219 seats to Democrats’ 213, with three vacancies: those left by the resignations of Republicans Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Ken Buck of Colorado and by the death of New Jersey Democrat Donald Payne Jr.

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