I started evaluating the candidates for local office, but in most cases, I found my result so heavily influenced by party affiliation that it was not worth posting on the web. I think the Republican Party, despite Governor Kasich’s attempt to steer it past the current catastrophe, is morally and intellectually bankrupt. At the national level, Trump is the proof.
At the local level, we have Judge Ruehlman, formally reprimanded by the Ohio Supreme Court, reversed on appeal for a “brazen” ruling, and described as pretty much a nightmare in his handling of a case involving alleged rape. Even the Cincinnati Enquirer, which usually supports Republicans and seldom involves itself at all in judicial races, says that it is time to “retire Judge Ruehlman”. A robust party committed to good government would have found a candidate to replace him, but this party is more interested in using the political advantage of incumbency to win the election.
In my opinion, the Republican Party needs to be thoroughly gutted so that we can replace it with a party that embraces truth and good government. In light of this, it hardly matters what I think of an individual candidate.
However, there is one, Aftab Pureval for Clerk of Courts, whom I can endorse based on his qualifications and ideas, not just because his opponent is another no-good Republican (though she is at best mediocre). I met him at a block party for my new neighborhood, where he introduced himself as “Aftab”, saying that people had trouble with his last name. With him was a friend, a volunteer, wearing an “Aftab” t-shirt. I have seen that t-shirt pop up at other events: a political rally and a community counsel meeting. I am impressed that he has such volunteers supporting his campaign.
Meanwhile, the Republican incumbent has been getting into trouble for pressuring the people she supervises to volunteer for her campaign. Apparently, this is not illegal, but we voters can judge whether or not it is ethical. Aftab promises to end such practices if elected.
Aftab Pureval, though relatively young, already has an impressive resume. He graduated of Ohio State and the University of Cincinnati Law School. As a lawyer, he has worked for a firm in Washington DC, has represented battered women, has worked as a federal prosecutor, and currently is working in house for Proctor and Gamble. He is also a co-owner of a small business.
Tracy Winkler was appointed to be the Clerk Of Courts in 2011. She seems to have gotten the job because of her family connections: she is married to Judge Ralph Winkler. In 2012, she won the election as the incumbent Republican.
Pureval has ideas as to how the Clerk of Courts could be run better. Winkler brags her office is running a surplus, but the fees that we pay here are higher than in Cleveland and Columbus. In some other counties in Ohio, court records are available on-line; Pureval thinks he can make that happen in Hamilton County as well.
The reality is that Clerk of Courts is probably the pinnacle of Tracy Winkler’s career, while for Aftab Pureval, it is a stop on the way. Once he has successfully accomplished his goals for this office, he will probably move on. However, Hamilton County will be well served. He is qualified, articulate, and hard working. He will improve the services provided by the office. He deserves your vote.