Candidates finance themselves | News, Sports, Jobs

Asking people for money is rarely fun.

It’s probably harder if you’re rich but still asking for campaign contributions.

Many of Ohio’s wealthiest Republican candidates for the US Senate are skipping those awkward discussions and writing their own checks, self-funding campaigns, or at least getting as close as possible.

If you didn’t know better, you would think that several of these Republican candidates are trying to buy the seat.

Of course, we know better. But the candidates have money to spend – with plenty left over – so that’s what they do.

Mike Gibbons, an investment banker, leads the Republican fundraising field. He gave $11.4 million of his own money to his campaign in 2021, according to the latest reports from the Federal Election Commission.

He spent a lot on television commercials. Gibbons was the first Senate candidate to run ads and has done so for months as part of a $10 million buyout, even though the primary isn’t until May 3.

In October, when he had already invested $7.89 million of his own money in his campaign, I asked Gibbons about self-funding.

He said: “If I’m spending time fundraising, it’s time I didn’t talk to voters. I’m sure once I’m in the lead it will be much easier to fundraise.

Various polls taken by the candidates show that Gibbons’ strategy is working as he is in the top three of most of them.

But I seriously doubt the money will go to Gibbons’ campaign if he wins the primary. How much money could Gibbons raise when donors recognize he can fund his campaign without their help?

FEC reports show Gibbons and three other Republican Senate candidates gave a combined $29.14 million to their campaigns in 2021, including $13.74 million in the last two weeks of December.

These four candidates are likely among the top 10 self-funded candidates vying for a U.S. Senate seat in the country.

State Sen. Matt Dolan came late to the Senate race, announcing his candidacy in September.

But he is making up for lost time. Dolan, whose family owns the Cleveland Guardians baseball team, donated $10.49 million of his own money to the campaign.

I’m sure many Cleveland sports fans are wondering why his family isn’t paying for more quality players.

Dolan raised $363,733 from donors for his entire campaign.

Businessman Bernie Moreno donated $3.75 million to his campaign, including $750,000 last quarter.

The day before the fourth quarter report was released, Moreno’s campaign had the nerve to send out a press release stating that the campaign had raised more than $1.05 million. He failed to mention that Moreno provided an overwhelming amount, and only $300,789 came from donors. He retired from the race on Thursday evening.

It was the same line from former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken.

The day before her final report was filed, her campaign said it had raised more than $2.1 million.

The statement failed to say that Timken gave $1.5 million out of pocket in the fourth quarter, specifically on December 31. (She gave $3.5 million in total to her campaign.)

Without self-financing, Timken raised approximately $3.4 million. This is less than half of its total amount.

Former State Treasurer Josh Mandel and JD Vance, an author and venture capitalist, who are both seeking the Republican nomination and who are also very wealthy, benefit from outside groups who pay millions of dollars for support them.

It makes what U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, the leading Democrat seeking a Senate job, is doing all the more impressive. Ryan has raised over $8.5 million from donors.

The $2,904,653 Ryan raised in the fourth quarter was about $270,000 more than all other Senate candidates combined received from donors, meaning self-funding is not included.

Additionally, of those who gave less than $200 in the fourth quarter, Ryan received $1,266,665. That’s more than three times the amount all other Senate candidates have raised from what are considered small donors. It’s those little donors in Ohio who vote.

Ryan faces a tough climb in the Senate race, as Ohio has been a Republican-controlled state for several years. But the money that Ryan, who was a weak fundraiser during his time in the US House, is raising for the Senate race is very impressive.

Skolnick covers politics for The Vindicator and the Tribune Chronicle.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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