Although the razor-thin race had not been called by any major news organizations, and was automatically going to a recount, Balderson, 56, delivered a victory speech and both the National Republican Congressional Committee and Trump put out statements declaring victory for their preferred candidate.
The suburban Columbus district has been in Republican hands for nearly four decades and voted for President Trump by 11 points in 2016, so by all accounts the race shouldn't even be close.
He had pulled ahead in one poll, despite the district leaning heavily Republican, with no Democrat having been elected to Congress from there in more than 30 years. Former Kansas Senator Bob Dole has endorsed Colyer, while President Donald Trump has endorsed Kobach.
Trump endorsed Kobach, Kansas' secretary of state, on Monday.
Instead, we got a nail-biter of a race that saw Democrat Danny O'Connor, who serves as Franklin County's Recorder, give state Sen.
Republican Troy Balderson claimed victory over Democrat Danny O'Connor in a widely watched special congressional election Tuesday to represent Ohio's 12th District in the House of Representatives.
In a special election season that featured almost a dozen congressional contests, Democrats claimed just a handful of wins, but they may have cause for optimism this fall.
Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed campaigns with support from New York Democrat candidate for Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a rally on the campus of Wayne State University on July 28, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan.
Balderson said simply that it was an honor and "incredible" to appear with and be supported by the president. Ohio's 12th Congressional District, in the suburbs of Columbus, has had a Republican representative for 35 years, and has been largely in GOP hands since 1920.
On stage with Trump, Balderson called himself "someone who will fight for President Trump's economic agenda". "Tomorrow we rest and then we keep fighting through to November", O'Connor told supporters at a post-election party.
O'Connor and his Democratic allies railed against the tax plan, casting it as a giveaway for the rich that exacerbates federal deficits and threatens Medicare and Social Security.
According to data obtained by TIME, Balderson had only spent $507,206 on television ads as of August 3, while O'Connor had spent over $2 million. The Republican campaign arm and its allied super PAC were forced to pick up the slack, spending more than $4 million between them.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, Trump also had a good night.
Republicans are scrambling to avoid an embarrassing defeat in a seat that the party has held for decades.
In the MI governor's race, progressive favorite Abdul El-Sayed, the 33-year-old former Detroit health official vying to become the nation's first Muslim governor, faces former state Senate Democratic leader Gretchen Whitmer, who is considered the favorite in the race. President Trump came out against the sitting GOP governor on the eve of that state's vote. He would join Tim Scott of SC as the only black Republican senators if he wins in November.