Central Ohioans are being bombarded with so many special election ads that it seems like the final week of a presidential campaign in this battleground state.

It's no illusion.

As President Donald Trump visits Olentangy Orange High School on Saturday, the candidate he is touting, Republican Troy Balderson, and the Zanesville state senator's backers have dropped about $4 million on TV and radio commercials, says Bob Clegg, a veteran media buyer who is not currently involved in the 12th Congressional District battle.

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Democratic Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor and his supporters have hit us with about $3 million worth of spots — virtually all in the Columbus media market.

That essentially equals the amount spent on ads in the stretch run of a competitive presidential or governor's race in Ohio — in fact is even more than for the 2016 White House battle between Trump and Hillary Clinton, Clegg said.

Another ad buyer called the outlay for broadcast and cable TV and radio ahead of Tuesday's special election "unbelievable."

Actually, if you are a fan of Alex Trebek and Vanna White, you probably have no trouble believing it. That's because three of the biggest targets of commercials for the 12th district tussle are Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune and the evening news.

"For a special (election) like this it’s all about hard core voters, which means news, Wheel and Jep," said Clegg, president of Midwest Communications of Powell.

Balderson also bought 57 spots for $26,750 on WTTE Fox 28 from Wednesday through the election. The ads are appearing on Mike and Molly, Good Day Columbus and Fox News Sunday. You may see O'Connor missives if you watch CNN, ESPN or the Discovery Channel.

The $7 million in ad spending doesn't include what's been spent for all those glossy pieces filling the mailboxes of 12th district voters, nor the phone calls nor the social media effort.

Many district voters are getting text messages, too. For example, the Humane Society Legislative Fund is touting O'Connor, while the America First Action super-PAC is pushing Balderson with the message: "Want to stop illegal immigration? Stop Pelosi from becoming Speaker. Vote for Troy Balderson — President Trump's endorsed candidate!"

Other texts simply said, "This is President Trump. I'd like to invite you to my rally..."

Trump's appearance comes as polls show the race up for grabs, with both sides trying to get voters interested in an unusual later-summer election. Vice President Mike Pence rallied the GOP on Monday in Newark, after a June appearance at a Balderson fund-raiser in New Albany. House Speaker Paul Ryan also has raised money for Balderson in a Dublin money event, and the campaign fund he controls is responsible for several of the millions spent in the campaign.

Although the 12th district stretches from Zanesville to Mansfield, the bulk of the voters live in the portion of Franklin County that lies in the district, plus Licking and Delaware counties.

The latest totals on early voting show a strong advantage for the party of Danny O'Connor in those three counties.

Through Thursday, Democrats were rolling up 66 percent of the major party total — both returned mail ballots and early in-person votes cast.

In 2016, when Trump was on his way to winning Ohio and 12th district Republican Pat Tiberi easily rolling to a ninth term, the Democratic share was just 42 percent in the three-county area.

Ohio Republicans traditionally turn out better than Democrats on Election Day. But such a high-stakes special congressional election in August has not occurred in recent Ohio history, so surefooted prognostications are difficult. The only thing everyone agrees on is that turnout on Tuesday is key; thus the presidential visit for Balderson, thus the hundreds of door-knockers expected over the weekend for O'Connor.

"This race will be won or lost in these final four days," the Democratic National Committee said in a fund-raising plea Friday for O'Connor.

The National Republican Congressional Committee was raising money for Balderson by taking the tact "Biased media using Ohio’s 12th District Special Election as a referendum on our president."

The Republican National Committee, flush with fund-raising success, has had staff on the ground in the 12th district for months.

Meanwhile, a pro-O'Connor PAC, Progressive Turnout Project, says its 15-person field team is part of a $250,000 ground effort that will send mail and text messages to "inconsistent" Democratic voters.

Dispatch Washington Bureau Chief Jack Torry contributed to this story.