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 Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is expected to plead guilty to a raft of new tax and fraud charges filed against him by special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday. Gates is expected to cooperate with Mueller's investigation.
Robert Mueller announced new charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort advisor Rick Gates. "The new indictment contains 32 counts, including tax charges." The pair had been indicted on 12 charges in October. Since then, Gates's attorneys have asked to be excused from the case.
The FBI has reported that it failed to respond to a warning from "a person close to" Nikolas Cruz, the teen accused of killing 17 people at Parkland High School on Thursday. "It was the second time the FBI apparently failed to follow up on Cruz." On the first occasion, it failed to properly investigate Cruz after it was reported to them that he left the following comment on a Youtube video: "Im going to be a school shooter."
Florida Governor Rick Scott called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign following revelations that the FBI had failed to adequately investigate multiple warnings about Parkland High School gunman Nikolas Cruz. “The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable,'" said Scott. '...We constantly promote ‘see something, say something,’ and a courageous person did just that to the FBI. And the FBI failed to act.'" According to an FBI statement, the FBI failed to inform local offices of information regarding "Cruz's desire to kill people, erratic behavior, disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting."