Ohio Democrats are pulling out all the stops as the clock ticks down to the final hours before Election Day.
On Sunday they brought in Ohio native and Grammy award-winning musician John Legend for a “March to the Polls” rally in Cincinnati on behalf of Aftab Pureval, who is running for the congressional seat held by incumbent Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH-1).
— Ohio Dems (@OHDems) November 4, 2018
Legend made stops later Sunday in Cleveland and Dayton, appearing with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, who is running neck and neck with Republican Mike DeWine. He also campaigned with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who is seeking reelection to a third term in a race against Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH-16).
Pureval’s March to the Polls rally was part of an effort to get voters to cast their ballots early on Sunday. Anyone registered to vote in Ohio who resides in Hamilton County can vote early at the Board of Elections office on Smith Road through Monday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m.
According to the invite from the Aftab for Congress campaign on Facebook, “free food and live music” was provided to all those who attended Sunday’s rally.
“Thanks to John Legend for joining us in Cincinnati to help Get out the Vote. So inspiring to see these crowds fired up to vote and ready to change our country,” Pureval posted on his campaign Facebook page after the event.
Besides Legend, the Ohio Democrats also brought in Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and former U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday.
The Republican National Committee sent out an email late Sunday that deemed the March to the Polls rally a “desperate attempt by the Democrats to distract voters from the many scandals that Aftab Pureval has faced throughout his campaign.”
Pureval was recently fined $100 by the Ohio Elections Commission for violating campaign finance rules. Several other allegations in the complaint were dismissed, though Pureval’s campaign was found guilty of one charge involving a $360 payment to a photographer who took pictures of his campaign kick-off event on Jan. 31. The money came out of the wrong account, which Pureval said was an honest mistake.
Also, a Pureval campaign worker was caught last month infiltrating Chabot’s campaign and accessing sensitive voter contact files.
One week before the midterms, Pureval fired his campaign manager, Sarah Topy, and several members of his senior leadership team. He said they did not live up to his ethical standards but did not provide any additional details.
John Legend is good, but not good enough to make up for these miscues, said Mandi Merritt, the Ohio spokeswoman for the Republican National Convention.
“After months of scandals, mistruths and shady campaign tactics, Aftab Pureval is trying to distract voters by bringing in the cavalry to rally support for his failing campaign,” Merritt said. “But it’s going to take more than an ineffective party boss in Tom Perez or a celebrity endorsement in John Legend to convince Southwest Ohioans that Aftab Pureval deserves their vote. Aftab betrayed Ohioans’ trust long ago, and no amount of free entertainment can change that.”
Merrit further criticized the Democratic Party’s decision to “choose controversial Obama alumnus Eric Holder and West Coast rock star John Legend as their closing messengers.”
“This characterizes the choice Ohioans have on November 6,” she continued. “Do we want to move forward with Republican results, or do we want to move backward with Democrat resistance?”
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.