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Government and Politics


Kasich ahead of Democratic challenger in gubernatorial campaign fundrasing
Democrats say the gap is not important, but Republicans says it is when you're trying to unseat an incumbant
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Gov. Kasich's campaign is ahead in funding for the 2014 gubernatorial election.
Courtesy of Ohio Statehouse
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The major party candidates for governor have filed their campaign finance reports for the last six months of 2013. There is dispute over what the numbers show about the campaigns as they head into this election year.

Kasich ahead of Democratic challenger in gubernatorial campaign fundrasing

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Note: The original version of this story was posted before Todd Portune decided not to run. An updated version is below.

The Kasich campaign put out the news early on the filing deadline day – and it’s easy to see why. The incumbent governor raised nearly $4.5 million dollars in the last six months of last year, and now has nearly $8 million dollars in the bank going into his re-election campaign. Ed FitzGerald released his reports right at the deadline. The Democratic Cuyahoga County Executive raised more than $1.6 million, and has over $1.4 million in the bank. 

That means Kasich is leading FitzGerald in the money race by more than five to one.

Expecting to be the underdog
But this was no surprise to Rep. Chris Redfern. It’s almost certain that he, as chair of the Ohio Democratic Party, would know where his leading candidate stands in terms of fundraising. And he suggested as much during a panel at the Ohio Associated Press’ legislative preview on Thursday. 

“Will we raise more than John Kasich? Absolutely not.”

At that same panel, Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Borges said it’s a tribute to the team that Kasich put together for his first race as a candidate for governor. 

“In 2010, when John Kasich was challenging an incumbent governor, as everybody here knows how difficult it is to beat an incumbent governor in Ohio, it hasn’t happened very often over the course of the last hundred years or so – he put together an excellent campaign and started working hard, and filed at his year-end report with $4 million in the bank.”

Democratic Challenger Ed Fitzgerald may still face a primary challenger.Double the advantage
Kasich has nearly double in his campaign coffers now what he had in that first campaign and incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland had more than $6.2 million on hand at that point. But Redfern says there is no guarantee that more money will bring a victory.

“We were outspent with Josh Mandel," Redfern says. "I think it was 3-1 when you look at the corporate resources that went Josh’s way, and we were still successful. The president was outspent in Ohio as well, and we were successful. We know we will be outspent by John Kasich.”

One potential financial worry for FitzGerald may have been erased not long after the filing deadline, as Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune announced he was stepping away from his challenge to FitzGerald for the Democratic nomination. His campaign said he’d selected former Toledo mayor and Ohio House Minority Leader Jack Ford as a running mate, but that – quoting from his statement – “he and Ford were unable to carry their joint effort any further.”

The statement doesn’t mention support for FitzGerald, but it does say Portune looks forward to – again quoting - continuing in our efforts to work for the betterment of the Ohio Democratic Party and for the State of Ohio in other ways than as candidates for statewide office.”

There won’t be a Republican primary for governor, but Tea Party activists say that they will have candidates in as many as 50 races for House, Senate and Republican state central committee. Among the 10 major party candidates for the five statewide executive offices, Republicans outraised Democrats in the races for Secretary of State and Treasurer. But the Democratic challengers for Attorney General and Auditor outpaced the incumbent Republicans, though the Republicans still have more cash on hand.

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