CINCINNATI – Aftab Pureval was campaigning harder than ever on Election Day as he whistle-stopped all day through Hamilton and Warren counties in an effort to unseat long-time 1st District Congressman Steve Chabot.
Pureval seemed to get a positive response from a wide range of voters, including a mother who wants her daughter to date someone like him, and another voter who wasn’t sure how to pronounce his name.
The Hamilton County Clerk of Courts is considered a rising star in Democratic circles and this race could place him in the national spotlight. Pureval hammered away on health care and other key issues.
“They want someone who will fight for their health care — quality, affordable, accessible health care - who will fight to protect their pre-existing conditions coverage,” Pureval said. “That’s not a political issue. It’s what everyone wants in the district, whether they’re Republican or Democrat, whether they’re in Hamilton County or Warren County, and that’s why we have so much optimism, so much momentum because we’re right on these issues.”
Pureval was buoyant as he greeted supporters outside the Bond Hill Recreation Center just before 4 p.m. He was smiling broadly as he handed out hugs and handshakes.
“People are ready for change," Pureval said. "Republicans, Democrats, Independents, they’re coming together looking for a positive agenda on health care, on jobs, protecting pre-existing conditions, making sure people have good wages with good benefits.”
Ann Black, a mother from Sharonville, paid him perhaps the highest compliment of all.
“I think I would describe him as a guy I would like my daughter to bring home,” Black said. “He’s bright. He’s caring. He’s young. And, he obviously takes good care of his body as well.
"I was actually very impressed when I met him when he was running for Clerk of Courts. I was immediately sold and overjoyed when he announced that he was going to run for Congress.”
There were big crowds at polling places in Sharonville, Bond Hill and Delhi, where WCPO talked to voters. Voters in three precincts cast their ballots at the Manor House on Mason Montgomery Road. Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-to-1 in those precincts, but Pureval backers made sure to show their support, even if they weren’t sure how to say his name.
“I vote for Aftab — I don’t know how to pronounce it — I vote for Mr. Aftab,” said Michelle Trout of Mason. “Basically, what I am looking for in the country is to have similar values, same morals like me. So, that’s why I vote for him.”
“He just seemed like he’s outgoing,” said Patrick Parker of Deerfield Township. "He’s with the younger generation of young adults growing up, and seems to be out with the younger group trying to make a change here in Ohio.
Pureval supporters told WCPO they weren’t swayed by the finding he violated an Ohio election law and was fined $100. That ruling came from the Ohio Elections Commission last Thursday, and Pureval called it "a complete vindication.”
Chabot backers took a different view of that and of accusations that Pureval’s campaign made an "illegal incursion" into Republican Party operations.
Pureval said his campaign manager resigned and he said he dismissed other staffers for what he called a failure to "highest standards of professionalism and accountability."
Pureval’s last stop of the day, after Ohio polls close at 7:30, will be the Three Points Brewery in Pendleton, where he hopes he can declare victory with his supporters. Pureval is due there at 8:30 to watch election results.