Rabbi Robert Barr (D) “said Tuesday he was dropping his campaign to make way for” Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval (D), who “announced his bid last week” against Rep. Steve Chabot (R). Pureval “could have faced a nettlesome Democratic primary against Barr, who had raised a significant amount of money in his short-lived campaign. But Barr said he would clear the path so Pureval could train his fire on Chabot.” (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Meanwhile, Pureval’s fiance “filed a police report Monday night saying that she has been stalked at their Hyde Park home since before he announced” his campaign last week. “According to the police report, which lists Pureval as a ‘reportee’ and his fiancee, Whitney Whitis, as the victim, ‘suspects are sitting outside the victim’s house at all hours of the day’ since Jan. 29. The suspects, who are not named in the report, have attempted to photograph Whitis ‘and have come onto the victim’s property banging loudly on the door, yelling at the victim and attempting to photograph through the windows,’ the report said.”
“The Chabot campaign has indicated it is going to make an issue of Pureval’s residency. Pureval’s home is in the 2nd Congressional District, not the 1st.” A “photo of him entering the house, which is for sale, after having said he moved could be exploited politically. Pureval has not been back to the house since the campaign announcement. The Chabot campaign had volunteers at the house to see if Pureval still lived there as of Thursday, Feb. 1, said spokesman Cody Rizzuto, but none have been there since then. Whoever was involved in the alleged incident was not associated with Chabot, he said.” (Cincinnati Business Courier)
REDISTRICTING WATCH. “Ohioans will vote in May to change how the state draws its congressional districts to a process that supporters say will lead to fairer, more competitive districts,” after the state House approved on Tuesday what was “the culmination of months of behind-the-scenes maneuvering by legislators to craft a bipartisan reform plan that could block a citizen-initiated amendment slated for the November ballot.”
The May vote will be “on several changes intended to increase minority party legislators’ voice during the redistricting process and reduce politicians’ ability to draw districts that favor a political party or incumbent. If approved by voters, the changes would take effect for the next redistricting process in 2021. Republicans have controlled 12 of Ohio’s 16 seats every election since GOP officials drew the maps in 2011 but only garnered 56 percent of the votes cast statewide.” (Cleveland.com)
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"Former veteran Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of making false statements to federal agents." Wolfe was indicted "earlier this year on three counts of making false statements to the FBI, which questioned him about his contacts with reporters ... According to the indictment, in October 2017 Wolfe gave a reporter ... information about an unidentified man who had been served with a subpoena to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The reporter published stories about the subpoena and the man's upcoming testimony in a closed committee hearing."
"The federal deficit widened last year amid higher government spending—including rising interest costs on the debt and increased funding for the military—and flat revenues following last year’s tax cut. The government ran a $779 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the Treasury Department said Monday. That is the largest annual deficit in six years and 17% higher than the $666 billion deficit in fiscal 2017. As a share of gross domestic product, the deficit totaled 3.9%, up from 3.5% a year earlier and the third consecutive increase."
"The BBC has determined there is enough evidence to be confident that at least 106 chemical attacks have taken place in Syria since September 2013, when the president signed the international Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and agreed to destroy the country's chemical weapons stockpile."