Last week, we detailed out the financials behind the 2014 contest for Ohio’s next governor. In short, Governor Kasich is doing very well, while Public Official 14… err… Eddy Fitzjerald is not only floundering, but is apparently owned by special interests.
But while a lot of attention will be paid to the 2014 gubernatorial race, to keep Ohio on the right path, we also need to maintain GOP dominance in the other state executive offices as well as strong majorities in the Ohio House and Senate. A look at the same financials for the potential campaigns and match-ups reveals some ups and downs, but overall, Republicans are poised for success—from top to bottom—in 2014.
Ohio Legislative Races
There’s not much to say other than this is truly sad for Democrats. If Fitzy’s campaign is on life support, then the Ohio Democrat House and Senate Caucuses are straight up dead. House Democrats raised just $200,000 and spent it all, mostly on legal services (I assume on their doomed attempt to unseat Rep. Al Landis). The currently have just $66,000 on hand, which is only slightly less than the $67,000 that Senate Democrats raised. They have just $48,000 on hand.
To put that in perspective, a competitive House race easily eclipses the $100,000 mark. In other words, if they combined all their money, House and Senate Democrats can compete in just one House district. And there’s no hope of financing a competitive Senate campaign. Only a few short years ago, House Democrats controlled the lower chamber, and now they raise less money than a church bake sale.
As for the other, more successful caucuses, House Republicans raised an impressive $2.6 million with just over $2 million cash on hand, and Senate Republicans raised a similar $2.2 million, with $2.1 million cash on hand.
No analysis necessary: House and Senate Republicans are headed toward a great midterm election.
Auditor of the State of Ohio
This race will be incumbent Auditor Dave Yost against the up-and-coming House Rep. John Carney. And while Yost has upset the apple cart in recent months, he has done a great job as Auditor and deserves reelection.
That said, he’s never been a stellar fundraiser, and the Auditor job isn’t exactly a sexy job that drives campaign contributions. As for Carney, he’s a relentless campaigner and is constantly raising money. So when Carney (total contributions of $316,604) outraised Yost (total contributions of $193,333), it did not come as a huge surprise. Given the (poor) quality of candidates on the statewide Democrat ticket, Carney is the best hope for a pick up.
But 66% of Carney’s contributions came from special interest groups—that’s a problem. Not only does it send the signal that Carney can be bought, but friendly PAC’s might be drained later on in his campaign. Also, Carney raised 33% of his money in the month of July (only 15% for Yost), showing that he thought it necessary to pad his numbers, just like Fitzy did. And the ODP gave him $25,000—Yost raised his money on his own, with $0 from the state party.
There’s no doubt Carney is off to a good start, but given the huge amount of special interest money, at what cost? Of course, Yost isn’t doing bad either, so is Carney potentially selling out really worth it?
Treasurer of the State of Ohio
Fresh off a grueling campaign for U.S. Senate, Treasurer Josh Mandel took in an impressive $1.12 million in the first half of 2013. His likely challenger, Rep. Connie Pillich, raised $312,197.
Like Carney, Pillich raised an inordinate amount of money from special interests (raising 41% from non-individuals) and needed ODP money to pad her stats (to the tune of $30,000). But to be fair, Mandel took $250,000 from the state party, though when you raise close to a million dollars on your own, that ORP money isn’t exactly about padding stats.
Pillich also raised $74,000 in the month of July, nearly a quarter of her entire take. Granted, Mandel raised ten times that in July, but he just got done running one of the most intense U.S. Senate races in the country—his July money is a sign of things to come, not just a feeble attempt to artificially inflate his campaign filing.
To give Pillich her due, the report showed over 1,000 contributions overall, with 663 from low-dollar donors, though even with that, she has a massive amount of ground to make up. Of course, when she’s in a race against one of the most tireless campaigners in Ohio, who has run two statewide campaigns already, while she couldn’t even get party support to run for a district 1/16th that size, Rep. Pillich is going to need all the help she can get.
Ohio Attorney General
Current Attorney General Mike DeWine (total contributions of $567,049) is off to a great start against rich kid and perennial candidate David Pepper (total contributions of $201,249). The most surprising thing about Pepper’s finances is the lack of support at the beginning.
Pepper raised only $80,628 during the mandatory reporting period, despite rumblings of his imminent statewide run in January, if not earlier. He raised 60% of his money in July alone. Of course, he needed it—had he reported just $80k, he would have been laughed off the statewide slate.
And as with the two Democrats above, he needed ODP money ($27,800 to be exact) to elevate his numbers, and he raised a substantial portion of his money from special interests, clocking in at 29%. But the biggest red flag is the fact that he took in just 134 total contributions—by far the worst report of any statewide candidate.
His report demonstrates that Pepper is nothing more than a career politician, bolstered by little more than family money. If his financials are any indication, he’ll likely get stomped next November and, like a bad penny, reappear in 2018 to run for something else.
Ohio Secretary of State
Incumbent Secretary of State Jon Husted is a force politically, and his finance numbers bore that out: he raised nearly $600,000, compared to challenger Sen. Nina Turner’s $200,000. And given her two-year long nationwide campaign, that $200k is a huge disappointment.
As with every Democrat candidate, Turner took ODP money ($25,000) and voluntarily reported her July numbers, accounting for a substantial portion of her entire report (34%). And like Pillich, she did a fairly good job attracting donors, with over 1000 total contributions and 849 low-dollar donors. But what’s surprising about that is the fact that, even though 82% of her contributions came from low-dollar donors, 51% of her funding came from non-individuals.
That’s huge. She basically raised a majority of her money from a very small group of special interests. I wonder who she listens to on policy issues—the ones who donate a few dollars here and there, or the substantial interests groups that are funneling huge dollars into her campaign?
Husted took just 7% from non-individuals. If dollars speak to integrity of the candidates, there’s absolutely no comparison between Husted and the bought-and-paid-for Turner.
Taken as a whole, Democrats showed a substantial reliance on special interest money for this reporting period. Every one of them took substantial party money. And every one of them voluntarily reported, and substantially relied upon, July fundraising numbers. All of that shows they share something in common with their D-lister top of the ticket, Eddy Fitz: they artificially padded their numbers and are apparently owned by special interests.
As I’ve said before, there’s plenty of time between now and November 2014. A lot can change. But as of right now, Democrats are doing themselves no favors in their attempts to appeal to average Ohioans.