President Donald Trump points to members of the media as he speaks during a meeting with inner city pastors in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Trump blasts Pelosi, LeBron James before Ohio campaign rally

August 04, 2018 - 5:49 pm

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — President Donald Trump is seizing on the prospect of Democrat Nancy Pelosi becoming House speaker again as he makes his pitch for Republican candidates.

Trump was traveling Saturday to Ohio to hold a rally for state Sen. Troy Balderson, who is running in Tuesday's special election for an open congressional seat against Democrat Danny O'Connor, the Franklin County recorder. The seat opened up when Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi resigned in January to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable.

The rally comes hours after Trump denounced arguably Ohio's favorite native son, basketball superstar LeBron James, who just opened a school for underprivileged children there.

Trump previewed his message for the Columbus-area rally with a tweet saying that while Balderson "is strong" on issues like crime and immigration, "his opponent is a puppet of Nancy Pelosi/high taxes." Pelosi, who would become speaker if the Democrats flip control of the House in November, has long been a Republican target.

A Monmouth University poll released this past week showed the central Ohio race tightening, leaving Republican Troy Balderson with just a 1-point edge, well within the error margin. The survey found 46 percent of likely voters approved of Trump, while 49 percent disapproved.

Vice President Mike Pence visited the area last Monday.

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