Democrat Aftab Pureval announced Wednesday that he has accepted the resignations of his campaign manager, Sarah Topy, and an undisclosed number of staff members.
Pureval accepted Topy’s resignation Tuesday night based on “new information,” he told The Cincinnati Enquirer.
“Our campaign holds itself to the highest standards of professionalism and accountability,” Pureval said.
“Yesterday we learned new information that led us to believe members of our staff may not have lived up to those standards,” he added. “Because we did not want this issue to be a distraction in the final days, I’ve also accepted the resignation of my campaign manager.”
Pureval refused to say what “new information” he had received or which staff members, besides Topy, had to be removed.
However, there have been many allegations of misconduct involving Pureval’s campaign, from financial improprieties to “spies” being sent into the camp of his Republican opponent, the incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH-1).
On Tuesday, the Ohio Republican Party held a press conference accusing a Pureval campaign worker of accessing Chabot’s campaign data. The Pureval mole reportedly posed as a Chabot supporter and gained access to sensitive campaign data from his Clifton home.
Chabot had previously cited published reports that the same Pureval campaign worker had posed as a Chabot supporter, showing up at door-knocking events to fish for information about Chabot’s debate strategy and other information.
At the second debate last week, Chabot turned to Pureval and told him he’s never seen a “sleazier” campaign from any opponent in his 22 years in office.
“While the actions of a few are inappropriate, we’re proud of the campaign we’ve run,” Pureval told The Enquirer.
When asked who will manage the campaign in the final week, Pureval named political consultant Jens Sutmoller.
Pureval started out as a rising star in the Democratic Party for his smoothly delivered speeches and hip style, appearing in jean ads while playing in a community softball game, but he was later charged by Republicans of staging the game for advertising purposes.
Then he was accused, in a formal complaint filed with the Ohio Elections Commission, of using funds donated by his mother to his county clerk-of-courts campaign to pay for services rendered to his congressional campaign. A hearing on this charge has been set for Thursday, and if found guilty Pureval could be subject to fines and/or jail time.
Nonetheless, money has continued to pour into the Pureval campaign from outside Ohio. At the same time, Pureval has pounded his opponent for accepting campaign donations from corporate PACs, despite the fact that his donations from special interests exceed those of Chabot, who noted the contrast at a debate Tuesday night hosted by Fox 19.
“He says I voted the way I did on healthcare because I’ve taken all this money from the health care industry, but that’s not the way I operate; that may be the way you operate,” Chabot said. “And if you really want to talk about campaign money you’ve raised probably three times what I’ve raised… So if you want to talk about money flowing in, it’s been mostly on your side.”
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.