Kind of a big local story here in Cincinnati as the House race for OH-1 between GOP Rep. Steve Chabot and Democratic challenger Aftab Pureval has gotten very strange, and definitely not in a good way for the blue side.
A resignation and two firings have cast a pall on the campaign of Democratic congressional Aftab Pureval six days before the election.
His campaign manager Sarah Topy resigned late Tuesday night and two staffers were fired.
Now some see his challenge of Republican Congressman Steve Chabot, R-Westwood, in jeopardy.
Pureval wouldn't say why other than "new information" came to light.
"Yesterday, I learned new information that led me to believe that members of my staff may not have lived up to that standard," Pureval said in a statement "We have dismissed those staff members. I do not want this issue to be a distraction in the final days, and therefore have accepted the resignation of my campaign manager."
In an interview with The Enquirer, Pureval gave little additional information. He wouldn't say what the new information was. He also wouldn't reveal the identity of the two staffers.
The staff shakeup comes on the eve of a hearing Thursday in front of the Ohio Elections Commission about whether Pureval improperly spent money from his local election campaign fund for his federal campaign.
The campaign came under a bigger cloud of suspicion with allegations a worker on Pureval's campaign posed as a Chabot campaign worker and infiltrated his campaign.
"While the actions of a few are inappropriate, we're proud of the campaign we've run," Pureval said yesterday.
Republicans see Pureval's troubles as not only assuring a Chabot victory, but also helping their candidates in the other races, including the close gubernatorial race between Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Rich Cordray.
"When something like this happens so close to the election, his supporters are probably starting to walk away from him," said Jane Timken, chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party. "That might mean fewer supporters for the other Democrats on the ticket."
When asked who will manage the campaign in the final week, Pureval said local political consultant Jens Sutmoller will serve as chief of staff.
The latest two NYT polls in the last few weeks show Chabot up by a comfortable nine points after surveys earlier this fall showed Pureval within a couple of points, but if this turns into a campaign finance scandal with days to go, Pureval's done blue wave or not.
If there is a blue wave, there's no sign of it in Cincy. OH-1 is an R+9 district, and Chabot is leading by that margin. Unless the NY Times polls are badly overestimating Chabot, he's going to win.
We'll see. Cincy readers, get out and vote.