Tuesday's closer-than-expected results in the final special election for Congress before the critical 2018 midterm elections "terrified" a Republican strategist.
Conservative strategist Evan Siegfried joined MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle on Tuesday to analyze what has been learned even before the race is called.
"In the battleground state of Ohio -- in a race that was not supposed to be close -- Republican Troy Balderson narrowly led Democrat Danny O'Connor in the special election for the 12th congressional district seat," Ruhle noted.
"A district solidly red for more than 30 years," she added. "The numbers are so close the race could be headed for a recount."
Ruhle noted how President Donald Trump had declared victory, even though the race is too close to call due to uncounted absentee ballots and yet-to-be-adjudicated provisional ballots.
When I decided to go to Ohio for Troy Balderson, he was down in early voting 64 to 36. That was not good. After my… https://t.co/uHjy9m9lSW— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1533697179.0
.....Congratulations to Troy Balderson on a great win in Ohio. A very special and important race!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1533698316.0
"I think Republicans are really trying to shine something that isn't good," Siegfried explained.
"This is a district that President Trump won by 11 points. No Democrat has been elected to this House seat since 1980," he noted. "We are having a very big problem."
"If a Democrat can bring it to 1754 votes -- in terms of margin of difference between the two candidates -- in this district, I am terrified as a Republican because it confirms everything we've been seeing on the ground --the erosion of married suburban white women who were voting for GOP candidates in 2010, 2012, 2014 and giving the majority in both houses, they are abandoning the party, they don't want to be associated with."
Siegfried, the author of the 2016 book, GOP GPS: How to Find the Millennials and Urban Voters the Republican Party Needs to Survive, also offered a prediction on the midterms going forward.
"I think that going back to the Ohio race, and the midterms overall, I think the biggest story here and what will be the biggest issue baring some unforeseen event, is going to be health care," he predicted. "Danny O'Connor ran, as his top priority, making it more accessible and affordable."
On Tuesday, Siegfried expanded on the points in an op-ed column for NBC News.
"What is currently a murmur of discontent within the electorate will become a a roar before we know it: Roughly two weeks before Election Day, the 2019 premiums for Obamacare plans will be released to the public," he noted.
"All indicators show that, following the pattern of the last few years, consumers can expect to see double-digit rate increases in most states," he warned. "But it could be even worse because the previous premium hikes came before Trump and Republicans did away with health care subsidies that helped low income Americans (in October 2017), as well as eliminated the individual mandate (in the tax reform bill passed in December 2017), which are both expected to push Obamacare premiums even higher."
"This will cause voters' anger to reach new heights," he predicted. "Democrats may have passed Obamacare and been blamed for its myriad problems through 2017 but, with the Republican failure to change it for anything but the worse since grabbing the reins of both the White House and Congress, Democratic candidates seeking to repeal and replace Republicans are likely to benefit."