2018 Ohio governor’s race most expensive ever

Candidates for Ohio governor Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray  TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Candidates for Ohio governor Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray  TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The 2018 race for governor between Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray set a new record for most expensive governor’s race in Ohio history: $43.5 million raised between the two campaigns.

That easily outstrips the previous record of $30.4 million set in 2010.

In 2017-18, DeWine, who is currently attorney general, raised $24 million while Cordray pulled in $19.5 million, campaign finance reports filed Friday show.

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Spending on the statewide races ramped up significantly in the final days of the campaign. All the candidates for executive offices spent a combined $20.2 million on staff, travel, mailings and ads. DeWine led the pack, spending $6.49-million, while Cordray trailed, spending $3.35-million in the same period.

The DeWine campaign finance report also reflects a $4 million outstanding loan that DeWine made to his campaign. He has not disclosed whether he will require that the loan be repaid or if he will forgive it.

DeWine garnered 2.23 million votes to Cordray’s 2.07 million. He takes office next month.

The major party statewide candidate who raised the least in 2018 — Republican Treasurer-elect Robert Sprague — also tallied up the most votes, 2.3 million. His 2018 cost per vote was 55 cents while Cordray’s was the highest at $8.48 per vote.

The post-primary reports, which cover funding activity from Oct. 17 to Dec. 7, show the following:

Governor: DeWine raised $625,000 and spent $6.49-million; Cordray raised $2.19 million and spent $3.35 million.

Attorney General: Republican Dave Yost raised $476,000 and spent $2.57 million; Democrat Steve Dettelbach raised $398,000 and spent $2.8 million.

Auditor: Republican Keith Faber raised $131,000 and spent $793,000; Democrat Zack Space raised $113,000 and spent $811,000.

Secretary of State: Republican Frank LaRose raised $267,000 and spent $872,000; Democrat Kathleen Clyde raised $293,000 and spent $688,000.

Treasurer: Sprague raised $94,000 and spent $163,000; Democrat Rob Richardson raised $206,000 and spent $1.65 million.

Republicans swept all five statewide offices.