U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot has some high-profile (and high-dollar) backup in his quest to keep his 1st Congressional District seat against a stronger-than-usual challenge from Democrat Aftab Pureval.
Americans for Prosperity, the political organization founded by billionaire Kansas energy magnates the Koch brothers, endorsed the Westwood Republican and seven other GOP congressional candidates today.
The Kochs have spent huge sums of money propping up candidates who support their staunchly conservative, small-government, low-tax agenda. This year, the Associated Press reports the network of organizations they control and fund is on track to drop more than $400 million on political issues ahead of the November elections.
"Our activists are proud to stand behind taxpayer advocate Congressman Steve Chabot as he runs for re-election in Ohio's 1st Congressional District," Micah Derry, director of AFP's Ohio branch, said in a statement. "Steve has fought for the middle-class and has been a diligent leader in Congress, working to improve conditions for small businesses and standing up for open and free trade."
AFP has pledged to support Chabot via a variety of digital and on-the-ground efforts, including phone banks and canvassing as well as advertising across a number of platforms.
Chabot has held his seat since 1994, save a one-term loss to Democrat Steve Driehaus in 2008. He retook his seat in 2010 amid a wave of right wing anger directed at then-President Barack Obama. His district got more friendly in 2012, when Republican state lawmakers redrew his district to include deep-red Warren County.
Despite his long incumbency and safer district, Chabot has seen a stiff challenge from Pureval, a rising star in the Democratic Party. Pureval has recently raised more money than Chabot and could have the wind to his back as voters react to the divisive presidency of Donald Trump in increasingly-blue Hamilton County. Political forecasters have moved the district from "leans Republican" to "toss up" in recent weeks, though questions about Pureval's campaign finance practices may hamstring the 35-year-old Hamilton County Clerk of Courts. An elections commission complaint alleges Pureval spent money from his clerk of courts campaign fund for his congressional efforts, a potential violation of federal election law. Questions have emerged about Chabot's finances, as well, however, including money his campaign paid his son in law for website design.
In addition to Chabot, AFP endorsed Peter Roskam of Illinois, Reps. Rod Blum and David Young of Iowa, Dave Brat of Virginia, Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, Ted Budd of North Carolina and Will Hurd of Texas.