Dems Appear to Pull Back From Ohio’s 1st Congressional District

Aftab Pureval / @AftabforOhio Facebook

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's last ad in Ohio's 1st Congressional District expired on Monday, a signal the party may be giving up on the district two weeks before the midterm elections.

A consultant for Republican candidates with access to spending reports that are not publicly available said other major groups are not active in the district, according to Roll Call.

"I get the impression that they might have pulled the plug," consultant Bob Kish said. He added that it would be unusual for a group to skip a day of ad spending two weeks out from an election if it still planned to invest in the race.

Democrat Aftab Pureval, who has been plagued by an investigation into irregular campaign spending, is trying to unseat Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in Ohio's 1st District.

DCCC spokeswoman Amanda Sherman said the group wasn't going to "reveal" its playbook.

"How the DCCC chooses to invest in individual races changes week by week, and we aren’t going to reveal our playbook," Sherman said. "Aftab Pureval is running a strong campaign that speaks to the key issues that voters in Ohio’s 1st Congressional District are concerned about, including protecting affordable health care and improving infrastructure."

Republican groups are still active in the race. The Congressional Leadership Fund currently has $730,000 invested for ads supporting Chabot.

A source told Roll Call that the DCCC spent around $624,000 on television ads in the district from Sept. 24 until this week.

Through Sept. 30, Pureval raised $3.1 million compared to $1.4 million for Chabot.

Pureval, the Hamilton County clerk of courts, is under scrutiny for misusing campaign funds. He spent $30,000 from his county clerk campaign account in the early months of 2018 despite not being up for election in that role until 2020.

Campaign finance regulations require the the spending be kept separate because donations are capped at $5,400 in Pureval's congressional race. The Cincinnati Enquirer found Pureval used county clerk campaign funds to pay for a poll of his congressional race.

The Ohio Election Commission will meet on Nov. 1 to determine the merits of the complaint against Pureval and whether he used county clerk campaign money for personal use, including for his congressional campaign.

The Congressional Leadership Fund has highlighted Pureval's possible misuse of campaign funds in multiple ads. Recent polls show Chabot leading Pureval.

Jeffrey Cimmino

Jeffrey Cimmino   Email Jeffrey | Full Bio | RSS
Jeff Cimmino is a media analyst at the Washington Free Beacon. He is a senior pursuing a B.A. in history and a minor in government at Georgetown University. Prior to working at the Free Beacon, he interned at National Review and the Foreign Policy Initiative.

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