Aftab Pureval Sinking in New Congressional Poll: Anti-Trump Message Not Resonating

A new poll by the New York Times indicates the Democrats’ targeting of Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH-01), could end up being a costly mistake.

If this poll is correct, Chabot’s challenger, Aftab Pureval, is falling like a rock in the public’s view. Chabot leads by nine points, 50 to 41 percent, with 9 percent undecided.

The numbers show a dramatic rise for Chabot compared to earlier polls by Cook Political Report and the Center for Politics. Both those organizations rated the race a “toss up.”

Ohio’s first district includes most of Hamilton County and all of Warren County.

Buoyed by early polls and an Obama endorsement, money started flying into Pureval’s campaign. It came from Washington, Hollywood, Silicon Valley and many of the other places where members of the hardcore left tend to live.

Not to mention, Pureval is, like many of the Democrats running in 2018, young, attractive and well-spoken.

But he’s struggling to maintain his early success.

Pureval appears to have mismanaged his campaign expenditures. According to a complaint filed with Ohio Election Commission, Pureval comingled funds from his county clerk and congressional campaigns. He allegedly used money in his clerk-campaign account to pay for services rendered to his congressional race. That’s a no-no and, if proven, could result in fines or jail time.

But the poll points to another unbending truth. In a state won by President Trump, it’s still a losing strategy to run on a platform of Trump bashing.

Here are some other takeaways from the poll:

  • The first district is split down the middle on Trump — half for him and half at least somewhat against him. Perhaps because he is aware of this, Chabot sometimes agrees and sometimes disagrees with Trump. Pureval, by contrast, has blasted Trump on a daily basis.
  • Half the district wants Republicans to retain control of Congress while 43 percent want Democrats in control.
  • 51 percent of the district supports Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court appointment, with 40 percent opposing it and the rest saying they don’t know. Yet, Pureval tweeted that he “believes” Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor who said Kavanaugh assaulted her 36 years ago.

For Pureval, a lawyer, a mere accusation against Kavanaugh was sufficient to destroy the judge’s professional and personal life forever.  It did not matter that his accuser’s story was uncorroborated and fell apart under a week of scrutiny.

Chabot’s campaign pointed to news reports about Pureval’s financial scandal as the drivers sending him sinking in the polls.

“After spending more than $2 million since getting in the race in January, Aftab’s only seen his poll numbers go down,” Chabot campaign spokesman Cody Rizzuto said. “He’s proving to be a bad investment for Democrats because the more voters see of Aftab, the less they trust him.”

Ohio GOP spokesman Blaine Kelly said Chabot’s trustworthy record on issues his district cares about leave him poised for victory:

“Voters in the first congressional district are benefitting from Congressman Chabot’s leadership and trust him to put their interests first. That trust was reinforced over the last few weeks as Chabot’s opponent, Aftab Pureval, was caught in a cover-up and then lied about it. This poll shows what we have known all along – Congressman Chabot will win on November 6th.”

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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.








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