If fundraising prowess and cold cash win elections, Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray could face off again this fall as their party’s candidates for governor.
The big campaign money often, but not always, prevails since it can buy hordes of TV commercials to draw attention land additional supporters.
By Wednesday’s deadline, DeWine, Ohio’s attorney general, reported $10.5 million in campaign cash on hand for the sprint to the Republican Primary on May 8 — a total that swamped Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor’s $3.5 million, which included a $3 million loan from herself.
Democrat Cordray, the one-time attorney general and former U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director, needed only 57 days to raise $2 million for his campaign, easily besting the four other candidates from his party. His campaign also was miserly, spending only $1,214.
"Our campaign is off to a fast start because so many Ohioans know that we can, and must, do better as a state to deliver opportunity for all people, and believe that (running mate) Betty (Sutton) and I have the vision and experience to get it done," Cordray said in a statement.
Cordray raised $1.90 million in individual and political action committee donations in two months as compared to the $1.99 million in similar contributions the DeWine campaign hauled in over seven months. In addition, Cordray’s running mate, former Congresswoman Sutton, brought $111,260 from her campaign after departing the race for governor.
A good part of DeWine’s stash came from the shuttered gubernatorial campaign of Secretary of State Jon Husted, who forwarded $4.644 million he had raised to DeWine’s account after joining the ticket as his running mate.
"There is a long way to go until November and we are eager to continue all of the positive momentum we’ve received from every corner of Ohio," a DeWine campaign spokesman said.
Taylor has raised $4.2 million overall and, excluding the loans, picked up $496,000 in the last half of 2017. She made $3 million loan to her campaign on Friday, with running mate Nathan Estruth pitching in with a $250,000 loan. Excluding the loans, Taylor spent more ($543,000) over the last half of 2017 than she brought in ($365,000), an unusual circumstance this early in a campaign.
"I am proud of the success we have had, the momentum we have generated, and the outpouring of support for our campaign," Taylor said in a statement.
Other Democrats didn’t raise as much as Cordray, but vowed to stay in the governor’s race.
Former state Rep. Connie Pillich, the sole woman in the primary, raised $911,655. Ohio Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, raised $381,431. In a statement, he downplayed the significance of the money race.
"If money equaled votes, Hillary Clinton would be president," he said.
The remaining Democrats in the primary — former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill and former congressman and Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich — weren’t required to file reports because they only entered the race recently.
In the other statewide races, the Ohio Democratic Party crowed that its candidates had out-raised their Republican opponents. However, the Republicans continued to have more cash on hand.
For example, in the attorney general’s race, political newcomer Steve Dettelbach, a Democrat, raised more than state Auditor Dave Yost since the start of 2017 and pulled close in cash on hand.
Other statewide matchups:
- Auditor: Former U.S. Rep. Zack Space, a Democrat, raised $358,610 and had $225,033 on hand. Ohio Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina, raised $455,987 and had $675,486 on hand.
- Treasurer: State Rep. Robert Sprague, R-Findlay, raised $741,849 through this month, including a $60,000 contribution from the Ohio Republican Party last week, and had an account balance of $518,191. Democrat Rob Richardson raised $521,372 and had $376,327 on hand.
- Secretary of state: State Rep. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson, raised $890,809 and reported a balance of $839,101. Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, raised $766,329 and had $632,478 on hand.