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Two Ohio Congressional Races Move From 'Leans Republican' To 'Toss Up'

John Minchillo
Associated Press

Democrat Aftab Pureval appears to be making headway in his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot in Ohio’s 1st Congressional District, according to one of the nation's leading political publications.

Sabato's Crystal Ball, a weekly online report published by the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, listed 17 congressional districts in Tuesday's edition that appear to be moving toward Democratic candidates.

Chabot's 1st District is one of them. Previously, the Crystal Ball listed Ohio's 1st District as "Leans Republican." It is now listed as a "Toss Up."

The district includes much of western Hamilton County and all of Warren County. Chabot has been in Congress since 1995, except for a two-year period from 2009 to 2011.

Pureval seemingly came out of nowhere in 2016 to win an upset victory against incumbent Republican Tracy Winkler for Hamilton County Clerk of Courts.

In January of this year, Pureval announced he would take on Chabot and several other potential Democratic candidates dropped by the wayside. The Chabot-Pureval campaign has been targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

A second Ohio race – an August 7 special election in Ohio's 12th District – has been moved from "Leans Republican" to "Toss Up" as well. Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor is the Democrat running in the Central Ohio district, facing Republican state Rep. Troy Balderson, who recently won the endorsementof President Donald Trump.

They are running to replace former Rep. Pat Tiberi, who resigned earlier this year.

Kyle Kondik, an Ohioan who is managing editor of the Crystal Ball, pointed out that Pureval raised more than double what Chabot raised in the most recent quarter of 2018 "and is approaching the long-time incumbent's cash-on-hand total.”

You can read more from Sabato's Crystal Ball here.

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.