Republican and incumbent Gov. John Kasich, left, and Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald, right.
COLUMBUS — Democrat Ed FitzGerald has banked $543,541 since joining the race for Ohio governor in April, but his campaign coffers are dwarfed by Republican incumbent John Kasich’s eight-times-larger war chest of $4.4 million.
Mr. Kasich more than doubled the size of his campaign bank account during the last six months, raising nearly $2.6 million.
Reports filed Wednesday with the secretary of state’s office provide the first snapshot of the ability of Democratic candidates for statewide office to raise money more than 15 months out from the 2014 election. The reports cover the first six months of the year, but most of the Democrats have been in the field raising money just a few months at best.
Mr. Kasich has been raising money almost since he won election in 2010, and recent polls have shown he’s rebounded significantly since the lows recorded in 2011 amid the ballot fight over collective-bargaining rights.
“Nearly 95 percent, an overwhelming majority of our contributions, come from Ohioans who live here and are deeply concerned about the direction of this state under John Kasich,” said FitzGerald campaign manager Nick Bius. “People in every corner of the state are excited about Ed, and this report shows the real grass-roots momentum that our campaign has right now. This is only the beginning.”
The campaign noted that the reported figure exceeds the $516,309 that Mr. Kasich reported at this stage in the 2010 campaign. To make that boast, the Ohio Democratic Party infused $119,500 into Mr. FitzGerald’s campaign just under the wire on Wednesday.
“[The reports show] Gov. Kasich is in a very strong position,” Ohio Republican Party spokesman Chris Schrimpf said. “Voters have responded well to him, and they’re putting their assets behind him. He’s out-raised his opponent, but he’s also ahead of where Ted Strickland was four years ago. It looks like Ed FitzGerald is struggling to gain any momentum.”
All of the Republican statewide incumbents have more in the bank going into 2014 compared with their Democratic opponents. Four of the five Republicans have banked more than $1 million. Like Mr. FitzGerald, all of the Democrats received last-minute contributions from the Ohio Democratic Party to make them more competitive financially on paper.
Of the other races:
● The presumed Democratic candidate for state auditor, Rep. John Carney (D., Columbus) has $449,809, thanks to nearly $219,000 he had left over from his 2012 House re-election campaign. While still winning the money race, Republican Auditor Dave Yost had the least of the statewide Republican incumbents at $520,673.
● Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted reported raising $593,580 during the last six months, bringing his campaign balance to $1.6 million. That compares to $203,972 raised and $128,756 banked after expenses for his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Nina Turner (D., Cleveland).
● GOP Attorney General Mike DeWine was sitting on nearly $1.2 million compared to $198,984 in cash for his opponent, former Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper.
● Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel, seeking a second term after an unsuccessful run for U.S. senator last year, has just more than $1 million in the bank, thanks in part to a last-second contribution of $250,000 from the Ohio Republican Party. His Democratic opponent, state Rep. Connie Pillich (D., Cincinnati), had $291,962, including $30,000 from the Democratic Party two days ago.
Contact Jim Provance at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-221-0496.