Incumbents hold big funding edge in Ohio’s congressional races

Those holding office have six times as much money as their challengers.


A Democrat who was president of an international relief organization and a Republican former NFL wide receiver are leading all other challengers in fundraising as they work to win seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in November.

Ken Harbaugh, a Democrat who wants to unseat Rep. Bob Gibbs of Lakeville, raised $272,058 between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 of last year, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission this week.

Anthony Gonzalez, who starred at Ohio State University before playing wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts, raised $259,467 in his bid to win the northeast Ohio congressional seat currently held by U.S. Senate candidate Jim Renacci.

RELATED: Former Buckeye could shake up race for Congress

Renacci’s departure creates an open seat in the largely Republican district, which should be highly competitive in the May primary. Gonzalez’s closest competition in fundraising is state Rep. Christina Hagan, R–Marlboro Twp., who raised $130,184 last quarter and had $199,046 in the bank. Gonzalez had $742,425 in the bank, according to the reports filed with the FEC.

Incumbents in most races around Ohio hold a huge fundraising edge. Gibbs is a good example. A Republican who represents a swath of eastern Ohio, Gibbs raised $85,964 last quarter. Although Harbaugh outraised him in the quarter, he lags the incumbent in cash on hand with $433,193 compared to $1.29 million for Gibbs.

In all, incumbents raised $2.3 million and had $12.5 million to spend as of the end of last year. That figure does not include Renacci or Rep. Pat Tiberi, who left Congress to take a job at the Ohio Business Roundtable in January.

By comparison, challengers or those running for open seats raised a total of $1.1 million last quarter and had nearly $1.89 million to spend.

RELATED: Democrats still lag GOP in fundraising

Locally, Citizens for Turner, the campaign committee for Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, reported $139,705 in donations last quarter and $584,142 to date this cycle. Turner had $540,322 to spend as of Dec. 31. Democrat Teresa Gasper, who declared her candidacy in January, has not had to file a campaign report as of yet. Democrat Michael Milisits does not appear to have raised or spent the $5,000 necessary to necessitate a campaign finance report.

In Ohio’s 8th congressional district, Rep. Warren Davidson raised $102,135 last quarter, has $230,453 in the bank and $250,000 in debt, presumably from his first campaign for Congress. Two Democrats and one Republican have registered with the FEC, but because all three either filed in late December or early January, they have yet to raise or spend enough to have to file a report.

In the Cincinnati-area 1st Congressional District, Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati raised $103,317 last quarter and has $1.19 million in the bank. Democrat Laura Weaver has $6,384 in the bank and Republican Sam Ronan has $705, according to the FEC reports. Democrat Robert Barr has yet to file a report in the race.

RELATED: John Boehner goes off on Jim Jordan

For now, Republican Jim Jordan of Urbana is unopposed in his heavily Republican district after Democrat Andrew Mackey filed termination papers to end his campaign in October. Jordan has $1.4 million in the bank.

The most recent campaign reports don’t reflect any activity past Jan. 1, which is when many candidates for Central Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, previously held by Tiberi, declared their candidacy. Some 17 people have filed paperwork with the FEC indicating that they intend to run for the seat. Republican or Democratic candidates have until Feb. 7 to declare their candidacy.

The campaign finance filings also might not yet include those who filed their paper work via U.S. mail; while most candidates prefer to file online, some have stuck to the traditional method of mailing in their paperwork.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Against odds, local Congressman Jim Jordan seeking GOP leadership post
Against odds, local Congressman Jim Jordan seeking GOP leadership post

After years of bucking Republican Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan on everything from health care to approving spending bills to keep the federal government open, local Congressman Jim Jordan has launched a bid to become leader of the House Republicans. On Wednesday, in a private meeting of House Republicans, Jordan will face Rep. Kevin McCarthy...
Opinion: Ohio isn’t now becoming red — it always was
Opinion: Ohio isn’t now becoming red — it always was

Donald Trump energizes Ohio’s Republican grassroots. And for at least two generations Ohioans have known the name Mike DeWine and, roughly, what DeWine stands for. Those two facts – in a state that prefers any changes to be gradual – are why voters made DeWine Ohio’s next governor. As barstool analysts are first to say, elections...
Ohio Democrat to oppose Nancy Pelosi for speaker
Ohio Democrat to oppose Nancy Pelosi for speaker

As Nancy Pelosi digs into her campaign for House Speaker, two Ohio Democrats have taken polar opposite positions on her bid. U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan confirmed through a spokesman he will vote against Pelosi’s bid for speaker, and said earlier this week he has been talking privately to incoming new Democrats who vowed not to vote for her. Ryan, a Niles...
Ohioan named to commission that will study military plane crashes
Ohioan named to commission that will study military plane crashes

Joe Hagin, a longtime friend of Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and former White House deputy chief of staff to President Donald Trump, has been named by Trump to a new commission trying to determine the cause in the alarming rise of military jet accidents. Hagin, who is from Cincinnati, was one of four officials named by the White House to the panel. The...
Will Sessions firing impact Mueller probe?
Will Sessions firing impact Mueller probe?

Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown said Wednesday the firing of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions should not impact Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether aides to President Donald Trump colluded with Russian intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign. Brown, D-Ohio, who opposed Sessions’ confirmation, said...
More Stories