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Money Doesn’t Lie: Fitzy Struggling While Kasich Surges

Earlier in the week, Nick painted a picture of what to expect for today’s campaign finance filing deadline.  Gauging from past filings, it seemed that $500,000 raised on Eddy FitzJerrold’s side of things would be a decent starting point for his upstart campaign.  Or at least, that’s the bar he set for himself.

And was still trying to get there today… In a big way:


Not only did Fitzy send out this final plea for campaign cash, he had to take a huge sum of money from the Ohio Democratic Party at the 11th Hour to get over that bar.  But let’s start at the beginning.

July 31, 2013, is the deadline to report all campaign finance happenings from January 1, 2013, through June 30, 2013; however, any campaign may voluntarily disclose campaign filings up to the day of the filing.  And earlier this week, when Fitzy “won” the endorsement of Ohio’s failed Governor Ted Strickland, the bumbling recession governor said that a report of $500,000 raised would be a good start for the upstart gubernatorial candidate.

As for Wednesday’s fundraising totals, Strickland said if FitzGerald was “in that ballpark, somewhere” of $500,000 — roughly what Kasich had at this point in 2009 — he will have shown he’s gathered support.

This is not the first time Ed’s campaign has put that number out there. He mentioned it in an interview with Jim Heath recently as well. He’s doing his best to manage expectations about what their numbers are going to be. They really want to use Kasich’s 2009 numbers as a baseline.

Of course, as Nick explained, there’s a lot more to Kasich’s 2009 baseline than Fitzy wants you to know, like Fitzy declared earlier, allowing for more time to raise campaign dollars.

So when the numbers hit today, sure enough, Fitzy hit the mark he’d put out there, having raised over $600,000 and reporting over $540,000 cash on hand.  But the data behind the numbers show some serious cause for concern in Fitzy’s camp, not the least of which is this:


Here’s a helpful tip to Fitzy’s campaign: when a Capitol Square reporter is surprised by a blatant attempt to inflate a candidate’s finance numbers, you’re doing it wrong.

This last-minute contribution not only put Fitzy over the top of his $500,000 goal (and by a good chunk, admittedly), it accounted for nearly 20% of everything Fitzy raised since January.  And it was voluntarily reported to help inflate his dismal fundraising numbers from January through June.

In fact, of the $600,494 raised overall, only 43% was taken in during the mandatory reporting period of January through June, accounting for just $259,772.  That’s half of the $500,000 bar Fitzy & Strickland placed on this campaign.  Without the voluntary disclosure of July’s contributions, Fitzy’s report would be beyond laughable.  Heck, without the last three days, the report is a joke.

Since July 29th, Fitzy raised 43% of his total take.  That’s right: the money the party and other special interests poured into his campaign account in the last three days is equal to the amount he was able to raise on his own in the first six months of the year.

As a conservative, I was hoping Fitzy’s numbers would be bad, but these numbers are down right embarrassing.

In his 2009 filing, Kasich relied on Ohio GOP money to the tune of $0, as in no cash contributions.  Kasich reported just over $500,000 through June (without artificially padding his totals with July numbers).  And he declared his candidacy in May, just 61 days before the disclosure deadline.

Fitzy took $120,000 from the party, and declared his candidacy in the first week of January.  And his numbers rely on a massive amount of contributions voluntarily reported from July.  All of this to arrive at a similar (albeit slightly larger) final total.

The one “highlight” for Fitzy comes from the fact that almost 94% of his contributions came from Ohioans.  Yet, even that is a double-edged sword for Public Official 14.  As any politico will tell you, the race for Ohio’s Governor is a national campaign, and Democrats can’t win anything without big out-of-state dollars from Big Labor, like the AFL-CIO and the national teachers unions, who have the ability to steal massive amounts of money from their members and funnel it into political campaigns.

Though these numbers might suggest that Fitzy looks like a homegrown candidate, without big dollar national groups coming to his aid, he’s dead in the water.  And so far, they’re staying on the sidelines with many of Ohio’s biggest Democrat allies.  In his first campaign filing of the 2006 cycle, Ted Strickland received contributions from over 25 different union groups.  To date, Fitzy has received contributions from no more than 7.  Of course, if you’re an avid reader here, there’s no need to wonder why unions are no fan of Eddy Fitz.

All of this adds up to a major issue for Ed Fitzgerald that we pointed out months ago: he has a big, green problem.  And he’s going up against an incumbent that not only has favorable poll numbers, but is also exceeding all financial expectations.

Kasich raised nearly $2.6 million, from January to June—without padding his stats with the July fundraising numbers.  That’s on par with what Strickland pulled down in July 2009, but without the dozens of out-of-state fundraising trips (of course, that’s where liberal money is, so where else was he to go?).  In addition, contributions from non-individuals (i.e. PAC’s) amounted to just over 7% of Kasich’s total contributions.  That’s in stark contrast to Fitzy’s 30%, or even Strickland’s 17% (2009) from PAC’s.

And Kasich took in nearly 2,000 low-dollar donations (contributions of $100 or less).  That’s some serious grassroots support this far out of the November 2014 election.  Strickland took in around 1,400 such donations, and Fitzy pulled less than 1,100.  Perhaps Fitzy’s less-than-enthusiastic support at rallies across the state is reflected in his ability to fundraise.  Just maybe.

As the Cleveland Plain Dealer said earlier today, it’s difficult to draw true apples to apples comparisons for all these facts and figures; however, it’s easy to see what stands out from today’s campaign finance filings:

(1) Fitzy needed to voluntarily report all of July AND a huge last minute influx of ODP cash to make his financials look remotely acceptable.

(2) In all measurable categories, Kasich is on par with, or doing better than expected this far from Election Day 2014.

Combine those two facts with recent polling showing that 3 out of 4 Ohioans have no idea who Eddy Fitzgerald even is, and he’s got a lot of work to do with very minimal resources to do it.  And that’s not just my opinion.  Ask Stu Rothenberg, or Nate Silver.

There’s still a lot of time between now and next November, but the money doesn’t lie.  Fitzy is struggling and Kasich is surging ahead.  I won’t make any predictions, but if Eddy wants to keep this thing close next year, perhaps it’s time he put down the Facebook.

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.


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