On Tuesday, 7 August 2018, Ohio’s 12th Congressional District held a special election to replace Representative Pat Tiberi, who resigned effective January 15th to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable, despite having served as US Representative for the district for 17 years. Ohio 12 is the former seat of John Kasich, current Ohio governor and 2016 GOP presidential nomination contender. The district, which includes suburbs of Columbus and more rural counties, is a reliably Republican one, which Donald Trump won by 11 points in 2016; Tiberi won it then by 36 points, 66-30% against his Democratic challenger.
That was then, this is now. As of this writing the results cannot be certified, as too close to call, pending the outcome of some 3400 provisional ballots, still to be counted next week. Right now Republican nominee Troy Balderson has a very slim 1,754 vote lead over Democrat Danny O’Connor, which amounts to 0.9% of the total cast. If the percentage of victory drops to 0.5% after the remaining ballots are counted, Ohio law mandates a recount.
Whatever the outcome, the election hardly seems worth the effort; having waited for some seven months since Tiberi’s resignation to hold it, whoever wins this battle will occupy his seat for less than three months, before the November general election sees both candidates in a rematch.
So the outcome is less important as a matter of practicality than as yet another canary in the coal mine for the upcoming mid-term election, which is shaping up to be a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency. A Democrat playing a Republican to parity, completely erasing a 36 point advantage from less than two years ago, is big news, regardless of who gets the nod in the end. Ohio 12 has been split down the middle by its reaction to Trump, who made a campaign stop there on the weekend before the election. Trump of course credits his last-minute intervention with dragging Balderson over the finish line, but it’s at least as likely that many came out to vote against him after the rally, bringing the Democrat within a hair’s breadth of victory.
The voting break-down shows the GOP dilemma going into the fall: previously “safe” suburban areas are leaning heavily anti-Trump, whose support has shrunk to exurbs and rural districts. And the race conforms to a pattern of special elections in 2017 and 2018, where swings of as much as 31% in Democrats’ favor have kept Republicans hanging on by their fingernails. As such, Ohio 12 is a microcosm of the upcoming general election, with the traditional split between urban and rural environments exacerbated, as both sides battle it out over the all-important suburbs.
The August skies betray a mirror image symmetry of the conditions on the ground, right down to the stationary status of asteroid House, for the US House of Representatives, which turned direct at 9 Sagittarius just five days prior to the Ohio special election. You can’t get much more stagnant and stationary than an electorate divided by a few hundred votes, and with House squared Neptune at 15 Pisces, we have an image of confused stasis, a political equilibrium where the slightest act can tip the balance.
The combatants are well in evidence also, locked in a cosmic struggle of their own; asteroid Daniel at 16 Aquarius, for Danny O’Connor, conjoins Balder, for Troy Balderson, at 21 Aquarius, both opposing Mercury, ruling the vote itself, at 17 Leo. Daniel is closest in aspect, so any recount (with Mercury – tabulation – currently retrograde, this is a real possibility), should it occur, seems likely to favor him. He’s also bolstered by opposition to the Sun at 15 Leo, highlighting him for the period, as well as the presence of asteroid O’Connor at 24 Leo, just within orb of the Sun, squared by asteroid Victoria, named for the Roman goddess of victory and the root of our word, at 28 Taurus.
Together, Daniel/Balder and Sun/Mercury/O’Connor form a T-Square with asteroid Ohio, the battleground, at 21 Scorpio. And here Balderson, with his PNA exactly squared the Promised Land, has the edge. Damocles at 25 Aquarius with Balder, however, suggests there may be some unseen doom hanging overhead, an unsuspected threat or challenge, such as a surging Democratic opponent in a traditionally safe Republican district.
Troy Balderson has another possible ally in asteroid Nike, named for the Greek goddess of victory, which at 2 Taurus conjoins asteroid Troiani at 28 Aries, one of two PNAs with some resonance to Troy, for which there is no exact match. This could incline Balderson to the win, but just as with that other Trojan Horse, Nike may be not all she seems. Her exact conjunction with Uranus suggests an upset victory for someone, which in this case, likely indicates Balderson’s rival, the underdog here due to Party affiliation. Asteroid Troja, the other possible referent for Troy, falls at 16 Gemini in sextile to the Sun and exactly trine Daniel, showing once more the enmeshment between the two opponents.
With two such delicately balanced challengers, we can resort to the birth charts for more clues. Times were not available for either candidate, but Troy Balderson was born 16 January 1962, and Danny O’Connor, a generation younger, was born 3 November 1986.
Balderson’s 26 Capricorn Sun is currently being transited by asteroid Achilles at 25 Cap, a point denoting weakness or vulnerability, which Balderson’s campaign has surely revealed. There is also an exact conjunction of natal Damocles with asteroid O’Connor at 12 Aquarius, identifying just where Balderson’s unsuspected doom arises, and these in turn are conjoined another exact pairing, of Mercury and Jupiter, at 14 Aquarius. Together these rule politics and the vote itself, identifying the field of action for O’Connor in playing his “sword of Damocles” part in Balderson’s biography.
That’s looking grim for Balderson, but there are supportive factors as well. His Sun squares asteroid Ohio at 22 Libra, personally identifying him with his constituency, and natal Nike at 12 Sagittarius was within orb of the recent station by asteroid House, perhaps granting him the victory in this House race.
But the real ace in the hole for Balderson is his Victoria. Not only is this point stationary in his chart, having turned direct at 28 Taurus just the day before his birth, and in trine to his Sun, but transit Victoria for the special election is actually at this very degree! This “Victoria Return” reactivates the natal potential for winning just as Balderson needs it most, and should be enough to bring him the win, if barely.
Danny O’Connor has some positive factors as well. His 11 Scorpio Sun was transited by Jupiter, the luck-bringer, over the past year, but Jupiter’s station at 13 Scorpio fell just shy of another exact conjunction last month. A natal conjunction of Nike and Mercury at 25 and 28 Scorpio is opposed by transit Victoria, which augurs well for winning (Nike/Victoria) the vote (Mercury), and also factors into the T-Square effective on the day of the special election, with transit Ohio broadly within orb. Natal Ohio falls at 22 Aquarius, so that’s in the mix as well.
Natal Victoria at 17 Gemini opposes Uranus at 20 Sagittarius, suggestive of a possible upset win, and these T-Square a combination of asteroid Daniel with Washingtonia at 13 and 12 Virgo, indicating that O’Connor may well find himself in DC one day. This is enhanced by transit asteroid Franklina at 17 Virgo for the election, representing Franklin County, O’Connor’s home county and the base of his suburban support in the district. The pattern becomes a Grand Cross with the inclusion of natal Jupiter, stationary at 13 Pisces, ruling luck and politics, which turned direct five days after his birth.
Again, we see a remarkably well-matched pair, so it should come as no surprise that they are as close in the vote count as they are. It does seem to me as if Balderson wins this round (unless that recount kicks in, which favors O’Connor), but another victory in the rematch in November is not assured.
On November 6th the transit Sun at 14 Scorpio conjoins O’Connor’s Sun, bringing focus and attention to his cause. This also highlights Balderson’s natal O’Connor/Damocles by square, with transit asteroids Daniel and Balder at 15 and 17 Aquarius, even closer together than in round one. This throws a spotlight (Sun) upon the hotly contested race and the natal potential for O’Connor to act as Balderson’s spoiler (Damocles). Transit asteroid Washingtonia at 13 Pisces energizes O’Connor’s natal Grand Cross, opposing its natal degree, and resting exactly on his natal Jupiter. And transit House at 28 Sagittarius is closely opposed O’Connor’s natal asteroid O’Connor at 27 Gemini, perhaps binding him to his new job site.
Transit Nike at 26 Aries is now exactly squared Balderson’s natal Sun, but has separated from transit Troiani in the sky, lagging now at 13 Aries. Transit Victoria at 4 Gemini, while still within orb of his natal Victoria, has moved on to oppose O’Connor’s natal Saturn, governing career and government work, at 8 Sagittarius, itself conjunct transit Mercury (the vote) at 7 Sag, and is trine transit O’Connor at 1 Libra. Saturn/Mercury is hard to call here; it could depress O’Connor’s turnout, or provide a foundation for the career win.
It looks like another squeaker come November, with perhaps the tables turned.