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Kasich holds $4.4 million campaign war chest

Gov. John Kasich is sitting on a $4.4 million war chest for his re-election campaign and out-raised his likely Democratic opponent, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, by more than a four to one ratio but lopsided fund-raising numbers don’t necessarily predict the outcome 16 months down the road, according to campaign finance reports filed Wednesday.

Four years ago it was Kasich who raised half a million dollars compared with incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland’s $2.5 million cash haul. Kasich went on to beat Strickland by a little less than 80,000 votes in November 2010.

On Wednesday, FitzGerald reported raising $600,494, including $119,500 from the Ohio Democratic Party, and having $543,541 cash on hand. Kasich raised $2.6 million during the first six months of the year, according to a review of reports filed with the Ohio Secretary of State.

“Incumbents, particularly incumbent governors, have a much greater ability to raise money. It’s to be expected that they’d have a lead this early,” said Ohio State University political scientist Paul Beck.

Barring any late changes or challengers, the state parties seem to have their statewide slate cards filled out already for the 2014 races. Down ticket match ups are expected to be: incumbent Mike DeWine against former Hamilton County commissioner David Pepper for attorney general, incumbent Dave Yost against state Rep. John Patrick Carney, D-Columbus, for auditor, incumbent Jon Husted against state Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland, for secretary of state, and incumbent Josh Mandel against state Rep. Connie Pillich, D-Cincinnati, for treasurer. Not all the candidates have formally announced they are running yet.

In the fund-raising race:

  • DeWine raised $567,000 and has $1.1 million on hand while Pepper raised $201,000 and has $199,000 on hand. DeWine’s campaign also owes him $350,000.
  • Yost raised $193,000 and has $520,000 on hand while Carney raised $302,000 and has $450,000 on hand.
  • Husted raised $594,000 and has $1.6 million on hand while Turner raised $204,000 and has $129,000 on hand.
  • Mandel raised $1.1 million and has $1 million on hand while Pillich raised $312,000 and has $292,000 on hand.

Beck said the money becomes more important in about six months when the campaign efforts intensify. He also noted that FitzGerald’s early fund-raising may have been suppressed as Democratic donors waited to see whether former Attorney General Richard Cordray would run for the party’s nomination for governor. Last month, the U.S. Senate confirmed Cordray as the director of the consumer financial protection bureau, essentially taking him out of any running for political office back home in Ohio.

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