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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White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is "getting close" to a deal with Mexico. Kudlow added that trade talks with China are set to resume shortly.
"A federal judge has found a witness in contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury hearing evidence in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell made the ruling Friday after a sealed hearing to discuss Andrew Miller’s refusal to appear before the grand jury. Miller is a former aide to longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone."