Aftab Karma Singh Pureval, an American of Indian-Tibetan descent seeking to make his maiden entry into the US House of Representatives, has attracted national attention after former US president Barack Obama endorsed him.
Top leaders from both sides have campaigned aggressively in the Ohio’s first Congressional District, where the 35-year-old Pureval is giving a tough fight to Republican Congressman Steve Chabot, 65. Chabot has represented the seat since 1995, except for a brief period of 2009-2010.
Pureval is one of the few candidates to be endorsed by former Obama, who has been a star campaigner for the party this mid-term.
This is an “election that will decide the future of our country,” Pureval, who is also of Tibetan origin and currently is Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, told hundreds of supporters at an election rally in his Congressional District.
Running an aggressive and impressive campaign, Pureval, political pundits say, has made it a “toss-us” seat, meaning it is no longer a safe for the top Republican leader.
Sensing victory, the top Democratic leadership over the past few days have been making an extraordinary effort to secure the seat.
Pureval, who ended his election night eve by thanking first responders, has outraised Chabot.
As per the latest figures from the Federal Election Commission, Pureval has raised $3.4 million as against $1.57 million till October 17.
On Sunday the Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez too campaigned for Pureval.
“We need leaders like Aftab Pureval who will hold the Trump administration and congressional Republicans accountable for their constant attacks on Medicaid. It’s time to show them the door tomorrow,” Perez said.
However, the Chabot campaign has accused him of campaign finance violations. Last week the Ohio Elections Commission fined him $100 after it determined that his team has improperly used clerk of court campaign funds to pay a photographer $360 for a photo shoot for his Congressional campaign.
Two other campaign finance violation charges against him were dismissed by the Ohio Elections Commission. But the Chabot campaign has made it an election issue. But his campaign manager Sarah Topy stepped down just days before the elections.
“Aftab Pureval’s entire campaign has been accompanied by one effort after another to delay, distract, and cover up the truth,” the Chabot campaign alleged. The allegations did have an impact on his campaign.
The New York Times, in its latest poll last week said that Pureval is trailing by nine percentage points.
If elected, Pureval would be the first Tibetan American to enter the US House of Representative. He was the first Democrat to get elected as the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts in more than 100 years.
Born and raised in southwest Ohio, Pureval attended UC for law school where he volunteered in the domestic violence clinic to protect battered women. After working at a law firm, he became a special assistant federal prosecutor where he worked with the FBI to prosecute crimes against children.
Before becoming Clerk of Courts, he worked at P&G as the global brand attorney for Olay, supporting a billion dollar business and learning how to get things done for the clients he served.
As Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, the first Democrat to hold this office in more than 100 years, he has brought modern and professional reforms to the Clerk’s office.
He’s ended patronage and nepotism, he’s launched a new website, he cut fees for public records, and he put more services online.