Ohio Republican legislative candidates enter 2020 with strong cash lead over Democrats

Andrew J. Tobias - Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Heading into the 2020 election, Ohio House Republicans have more than triple the cash of their Democratic counterparts, according to campaign finance reports filed on Friday.

The House Republican Campaign Committee reported raising more than $1.8 million and spending $21,650 during the most recent campaign finance period, which runs through 2019. That leaves House Speaker Larry Householder about $1.8 million to fund House candidates across the state this year.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans raised $1.8 million and spent $631,000, giving them a cash balance of more than $2.6 million.

Senate Democrats raised about $178,300 and spent about $110,600, with a reported cash balance of almost $221,200.

“I am proud of the work our caucus has done in raising this amount and supporting one another,” Householder, a Perry County Republican, said in a statement. “As we continue to fight for our conservative values in the legislature, we will also continue to fight to win in the upcoming election.”

In comparison, the Ohio House Democratic Caucus raised about $407,500 and spent $227,700. Carrying forward money from the previous cycle, they reported a cash balance of just less than $601,000.

Aryeh Alex, executive director of the OHDC, noted House Democrats have raised slightly more than they did during the equivalent time in 2018, when they flipped a net five Republican House seats. He said Democrats are more focused this cycle on relatively few competitive races.

He said House Democrats expect to be outspent.

“It’s not all about money. It’s about what we’ve been doing. We’ve passed some good, bipartisan bills, and we’re standing up for Ohio’s promise, which I think is resonating with Ohioans across the state,” he said.

Despite their cash disadvantage, Senate Democrats also pointed out they’d raised considerably more than the equivalent time during the last election.

“The Senate Dems have been fighting to help hardworking Ohio families, and these numbers show Ohioans are paying attention,” said Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko, a Euclid Democrat. “Voters deserve a government that reflects their values. When Democrats win more seats in 2020, it will make the Statehouse more like Ohio.”

Sen. Dave Burke, chairman of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

More on the House

The bulk of the House GOP’s fundraising came from Householder, who contributed $1 million, and a handful of members: Athens Rep. Jay Edwards ($200,000) and Strongsville Rep. Tom Patton ($75,000). Reps. Scott Wiggam, of Wooster, Jon Cross, of Kenton, Rick Carfagna, of Delaware County and Dave Greenspan, of Westlake, each gave $50,000.

Top individual donors included Knox County’s Wayne and Cynthia Boich, owners of a Knox County manufacturer, who each gave $19,938, the maximum contribution for individuals. Cleveland-area nursing home operators Brian and Gretchen Colleran also each gave $19,938. Westlake’s Daniel Parker, Brian Colleran’s business partner, gave $19,000.

House Democratic contributions were more diffuse. Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, of Akron gave $96,000, state Rep. Kristin Boggs of Columbus gave $33,000 and and Jack Cera, of Belmont County, gave $10,000.

Other large donors included OAPSE/AFSCME ($17,438) United Steelworkers District 1 ($10,000) and AFSCME Ohio Council 8 ($10,000). Marianne Gabel, an attorney from Delaware, gave $10,000.

More on the Senate

Top contributors to the Senate Republican campaign fund were Republican members: State Sen. Steve Wilson, of the Cincinnati area, gave $150,000 and Chagrin Falls Sen. Matt Dolan gave $125,000, while Canton Sen. Kirk Schuring, Toledo-area Sen. Theresa Gavarone and Lima Sen. Matt Huffman each gave $100,000.

Top non-member contributors included the Ohio State Medical Association PAC ($17,938), a PAC representing Ohio beer and wine distributors ($14,500) and the Ohio CPA PAC ($10,000).

Huffman, the favorite to replace the term-limited Larry Obhof as leader of the Ohio Senate next year, raised about $426,500.

His top donors included Columbus lobbyists Andy Bowers and Matt Carle, who each gave $13,292, and the Ohio State Medical Association PAC, which represents state doctors, which gave $10,542.

Top Democratic Senate contributors were Yuko ($50,000), Cincinnati Sen. Cecil Thomas ($23,000) and Lakewood Sen. Nicki Antonio ($15,000).

Other Democratic support came from organized-labor groups, including AFSCME Ohio Council 8 ($10,000) and OSCEA/AFSCME Local 11 ($10,000).


Andrew J. Tobias

Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)

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