MASON, Ohio (AP) — The Democratic candidate for Congress in southwest Ohio jokes that besides already going against the electoral odds, he’s a “brown dude with a funny name.”
But 35-year-old Aftab Pureval (af-TAB’ pyur-VAHL’) is attracting national attention as he tries to unseat veteran Republican Rep. Steve Chabot (SHAH’-buht), part of the Cincinnati-area political landscape for three decades. Like other Ohio congressional incumbents, the 65-year-old Chabot hasn’t had a tough race since seats were redrawn after the 2010 census.
But he’s in one now.
Their matchup is among dozens playing out nationally in House districts that have been afterthoughts in recent elections. They and the 25 Republican-held seats where Hillary Clinton beat President Donald Trump in 2016 could determine whether Democrats gain the 23 seats in November they need for a majority.