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Published: 4/17/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Kaptur's campaign cash just above Wurzelbacher

Democratic primary victory proved expensive

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Rep. Marcy Kaptur has $104,215 in her campaign war chest while Republican Samuel Wurzelbacher has $82,481. Rep. Marcy Kaptur has $104,215 in her campaign war chest while Republican Samuel Wurzelbacher has $82,481.
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After spending more than $1 million to defeat U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Cleveland) in the primary election, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) goes into the fall campaign barely ahead of her opponent, Republican Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher of Springfield Township, in campaign cash.

Miss Kaptur reported having $104,215 in her campaign war chest as of March 31, while Mr. Wurzelbacher had $82,481, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission on Sunday.

At this time two years ago, prior to the start of her race against Republican Rich Iott of Monclova Township, Miss Kaptur had nearly 10 times as much money in her campaign war chest -- $1,020,368.

Mr. Wurzelbacher refused to answer questions when reached by phone Monday. His campaign emailed a prepared statement quoting Mr. Wurzelbacher saying that his success at raising money should strike fear in the Kaptur campaign.

"We have a ton of momentum coming out of the primary, and we are in a solid position as we gear up for the fall election," the prepared statement said. "This report should make Marcy Kaptur and her liberal allies shake in their shoes."

Campaign finance reports show that Miss Kaptur spent heavily to retain the Democratic nomination for the 9th Congressional District. She was thrown in a rare primary campaign against fellow House member Mr. Kucinich after the Ohio General Assembly redrew congressional lines to include Toledo and west Cleveland in the new 9th District.

Miss Kaptur was both outraised and outspent by Mr. Kucinich. She raised $634,389 during the entire 2011-12 campaign cycle, while Mr. Kucinich raised $1,382,034. On the expenditure side, Mr. Kucinich spent $1,361,633, compared with $1,112,841 by Miss Kaptur.

Miss Kaptur won the election 56 percent to 40 percent, with political newcomer Graham Veysey of Cleveland getting 4 percent of the vote.

Miss Kaptur was not available for comment. Her campaign manager, Steve Fought, said, "We spent a lot of money in the Kucinich campaign. It depleted our resources, no doubt about it. Cleveland television is a very expensive proposition."

Mr. Fought noted that none of Mr. Wurzelbacher's itemized contributions came from people living in the new 9th Congressional District, but mostly from other states.

Mr. Wurzelbacher reported contributions from individuals living in Holland, Perrysburg, West Unity, Montpelier, and Columbus. The report shows 73 itemized contributions, although the campaign said Mr. Wurzelbacher has received 3,423 total contributions, counting those of less than $200.

"He's relying on right-wing sources around the country to fund his campaign. It's no surprise perhaps that people in the 9th Congressional District don't support his campaign because they don't know if he's going to use the money to pay himself a salary," Mr. Fought said.

Mr. Wurzelbacher reported taking a campaign salary of $3,842 monthly, according to his report, which is permitted by the FEC.

In the most recent period, Mr. Wurzelbacher raised $161,195, and the report reflects his national appeal based on the incident in 2008 when he catapulted to fame as "Joe the Plumber" when he took on then-candidate Barack Obama in a streetfront debate over tax policy.

Mr. Wurzelbacher spent heavily on commissions and fees to fund-raising organizations. The report shows $7,760 in commissions and fees to Campaign Solutions in Alexandria, Va., and $42,944 for "revenue sharing" to various other political consulting organizations. The biggest single payment, $17,001, went to Conservative Connector LLC of Greenwood, Ind.

He reported owing fund-raising consultant Infocision Management Corp., of Akron, $2,916.

Mr. Wurzelbacher won the Republican nomination in his first bid for public office on March 6. He narrowly defeated Steven Kraus (R., Huron) in the March 6 primary election for the Republican nomination. During the GOP primary, Mr. Wurzelbacher raised a total of $231,046 and spent $87,170. Mr. Kraus spent $11,078 after raising a total of $11,449.

Miss Kaptur's report shows 124 itemized individual Ohio contributors, many of whom appear to be from 9th District communities, including Toledo, Cleveland, Lorain, Rocky River, and Avon.

Miss Kaptur reported 186 contributions from individuals totaling $148,350, including $29,850 from the Toledo area, in the final three weeks before the March 6 election.

She reported 65 contributions from political action committees, including unions, industry associations, and other political candidates' committees.

Her biggest expenditures, $414,809, were to Main Street Communications in Washington for television advertising.

Mr. Kucinich had more than 650 itemized individual contributors, of which 45 were from Ohio.

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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