The Butler County Democratic Party has raised more than $33,500 in the first six months of the year, its best fundraising effort since 2011, according to the party.
Party officials say a growing base fueled by small donations are helping close the gap with the more dominant Butler County Republican Party. Though the Republicans out-raised the Democrats by $50,000 within the first six months of 2017, Republicans only raised $2.47 to every $1 the Democrats raised.
After the 2012 presidential election, Republicans out raised the Democrats by nearly a 4-1 ratio.
“With our growing fundraising base of small donors, our party is breaking fundraising records and have more cash on hand than we have ever had at this point in the year for the past decade,’ said Butler County Democratic Party Executive Chairwoman Jocelyn Bucaro.
She said it’s a sign that “residents are tired of Republican politicians who are more focused on pushing controversial wedge issues to get themselves some free press rather than actually addressing the lack of economic opportunity in many of our communities and an opioid epidemic that is raging out of control.”
However, Butler County Republican Party Executive Chairman Todd Hall said his party isn’t worried about the Democratic Party’s campaign coffers.
“When you consider the Butler GOP cash balance on hand, our established ability to raise money whenever we want or need to, and the campaign balances of our current office holders, I can tell you very frankly and confidently that we are not concerned about forfeiting our financial advantages,” he said.
The Republican Party started its rise in Butler County in the early 1970s but became the dominate party in the 1990s. In 2000, the party had one of its members in every countywide office. As of today, all 11 countywide nonjudicial officeholder are Republicans and 14 of the 15 county judges are Republicans. And the lion’s share of local elected officials — from city and village councils to school boards — are Republicans.
Hope, however, is strong with the Democratic Party based on the latest fundraising numbers, officials say.
The party raised 18 percent more in the first six months of 2017 over a similar period in 2016, a presidential election year, according to campaign finance records. And the fundraising totals in the 2017 semi-annual report released Monday is also four times more than during the same time in the 2012 presidential election year.
“The Butler County Democratic Party has shown it is fiscally frugal so that it can make permanent investments in building the party in Butler County while closing the gap with the Republican Party,” said Butler County Democratic Party spokesman Brian Hester.