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The Morning: An Ohio special election stunner

How good is this for Democrats?

In an Ohio district that Donald Trump won with 72% of the vote in 2020, a Republican state senator barely eked out a 10-point special election victory on Tuesday night, a sign, national Democrats insisted, that their party is in far better shape than most polls suggest.

To which I say: Maybe!

Look. There’s no question that the Republican nominee badly underperformed the district’s strongly GOP nature — and did so while drastically outspending his unknown Democratic opponent.

And that is a GOOD thing if you are a Democrat battered by President Biden’s ongoing poll struggles.

But, I’d offer one word of caution for Democrats high-fiving this morning: Turnout.

Here’s what it looked like last night:

Michael Rulli (R) 32,627 votes

Michael Kripchak 27,062 votes

That’s less than 60,000 total votes cast.

In the 2022 general election, incumbent GOP Rep. Bill Johnson won 186,965 votes by himself — three times the TOTAL number of votes cast in this race.

In 2020, a presidential year, Johnson won 249,130 votes — four times the total vote count in this race.

Low turnout races often produce strange results. Is that what we saw on Tuesday night? Or was it a sign of under-appreciated Democratic strength?

I break it all down in today’s edition of “The Morning.”