COLUMBUS — Gov. John Kasich is sitting on a better than 5-to-1 advantage in campaign cash over his expected Democratic opponent, Ed FitzGerald, more than nine months out from the general election.
The Republican governor’s war chest had nearly $8 million compared to the $1.4 million Mr. FitzGerald reported raising as of Friday’s filing deadline covering activity for the second half of 2013.
By comparison, at this point in the campaign four years ago, then-Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland had an impressive $6.2 million in the bank, but he went on to narrowly lose to Mr. Kasich.
A threatened primary challenge from Mr. Kasich’s right has failed to materialize. He has been criticized by some within his party for partnering with the federal government to expand Medicaid.
“I am a conservative …,” Mr. Kasich said. “I have a right to lead too. I have a right to shape what conservative philosophy means. I have a right to move forward with programs that, I think, maybe in the short term may not be that popular but in the long term may yield an awful lot of good.”
The threatened challenge to Mr. FitzGerald evaporated when Todd Portune, a Hamilton County commissioner, decided not to run.
Mr. Kasich’s campaign raised nearly $3.9 million since July. The campaign boasted that 77 percent of contributions were from individuals giving $100 or less. But the campaign also benefited from contributions from political action committees representing energy, manufacturing, financial, insurance, and construction industries.
His largest single contribution came from the Summit County Republican Party at $75,000.
Also among his larger contributors were the Ohio Coal PAC, giving the maximum contribution allowed of $12,156; ACTOhio (Affiliated Construction Trades of Ohio), $12,156; Aetna Inc., $12,000; Agriculture for Good Government, $12,156; CareSource Management Services, $12,000; JP Morgan Chase & Co., $12,000, and the Ohio Valley Associated Builders and Contractors, $12,000.
ACTOhio executive director, the former state Rep. Matt Szollosi (D., Oregon), supported Mr. Kasich’s move last year to borrow against the Ohio Turnpike to boost road construction and stood with him recently to promote a proposed $1.9 billion bond issue for local infrastructure projects.
Mr. FitzGerald reported raising $1.6 million. Of that, nearly $459,000 came directly from the Ohio Democratic Party.
Mr. FitzGerald’s total included many maxed-out contributions from labor unions at $12,156 each. Among them were multiple local and national contributions from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, Ohio Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, and the Service Employees International Union.
“The people of Ohio are making it clear that their voices won’t be silenced by excessive campaign checks from the 1 percent who have benefited from Governor Kasich’s economic ‘miracle’,” campaign manager Nick Buis said. “At the same time Governor Kasich continues to fund his campaign through Wall Street connections, over 90 percent of all contributions to Friends for Fitzgerald-Neuhardt come from Ohioans.”
Republican incumbent Mike DeWine reported raising $760,656 and having a total of $1.8 million in cash on hand. His report showed that he’s reduced the amount of personal loans he made to his 2010 campaign from $2 million to $300,000.
His Democratic opponent, former Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper, plans a news conference Monday to target suggestions Mr. DeWine has given preferential treatment to contributors when it comes to awarding special counsel contracts, something Mr. DeWine has denied.
Mr. Pepper reported a bank balance of $764,017 after raising about $848,000 during the reporting period.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has banked $2.1 million compared to about $299,000 for his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Nina Turner (D., Cleveland). Mr. Husted reported adding a little over $580,000. Ms. Turner, meanwhile, reported raising nearly $407,000.
Incumbent Auditor David Yost reported raising nearly $291,000 during the reporting period. He has $776,284 in the bank. He was the only statewide incumbent to be out-raised by his Democratic challenger, state Rep. John Carney (D., Columbus), during the reporting period.
Mr. Carney raised just over $630,000 and still had a remaining balance of $580,000.
Expected Democratic candidate for treasurer, state Rep. Connie Pillich (D., Cincinnati), reported a new balance of about $801,000 after raising $634,141. But she still significantly trails incumbent Republican Josh Mandel, who reported a balance in excess of $2 million. He’s raised some $1.1 million since July.
Contact Jim Provance at: