Three of the four Republicans vying to become Ohio’s next governor are each sitting on $4 million war chests.
The four Democrats, however, have less than $2 million combined with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley among the top fundraisers.
This is according to Ohio campaign finance reports filed Monday, which track contributions and expenses for the first six months of the year.
Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine has the funding edge in the governor’s race. His campaign raised nearly $1.3 million in the most recent period and has $4.7 million on-hand, including a $1 million loan to himself.
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Secretary of State Jon Husted, also a Republican, raised more than $2 million and is sitting on $4.3 million.
Husted’s campaign noted Monday that his campaign raised more than anyone else in this period.
“The momentum and grassroots support from across Ohio has lined up firmly behind Jon Husted, as evidenced by the fact that other candidates in this race were forced to put in their own money in order to catch up,” Husted for Ohio Spokesman Joshua Eck said. “Today’s filings show that while some candidates are their own biggest supporters, Jon Husted has support from Republican leaders and voters.”
The pair could be in for a bruising primary. U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci’s largely self-funded campaign — he threw in $4 million of his own money — is molding a President Donald Trumpesque anti-establishment campaign with $4.4 million in the bank.
Renacci said Monday that he’s also aligned with the Ohio First PAC to advance his agenda, and it has raised an additional $235,000.
“I’m in it to win it in this race because I know that with a new brand of conservative leadership in Columbus we can restore growth, opportunity and promise to our state — and I’ll stop at nothing to win this election and get the job done for all Ohioans as governor,” he said.
Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor trailed behind her party peers with $436,883 on hand, though Taylor is also backed by a non-profit that reported six months ago it had a balance of $926,799.
Whaley competing in Dem field
Democrat Connie Pillich, a former state lawmaker, leads that party in campaign funds, garnering $547,060 during the most recent time period, giving her a current $720,525 war chest.
Whaley, a Democrat running unopposed for re-election as mayor, has received approval from the Ohio Secretary of State to use her mayoral campaign funds in the governor’s race, according to her campaign. Whaley raised $455,131 and has $607,942 on hand.
“People are excited about Nan and there has been tremendous support for Nan so far,” said Whaley campaign spokeswoman Faith Oltman.
Democrat Betty Sutton, a former congresswoman, has $209,680 in her campaign. State Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, has $245,251.
‘A nasty, expensive bloodbath’
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper downplayed his party’s fundraising lag Monday.
“Ohio Democrats have a strong slate of candidates running for governor and down ballot, and we know our eventual nominees will have the resources they need to make the case to voters that our state is on the wrong track because of the failed leadership of Columbus Republicans,” he said.
“Meanwhile, the Ohio Republican primary is shaping up to be a nasty, expensive bloodbath, as the three lesser-known candidates train their rhetorical fire on Mike DeWine, a career politician who has been running for elected office for more than 40 years.”
A poll out last week shows DeWine and Sutton in the lead for their respective parties’ nominations.
The poll conducted by Frank Luntz’ organization, The Luntz Global Poll, has DeWine leading with 27 percent. His closest competition on the Republican side is Husted who has 13 percent. Taylor is at 8 percent and Renacci is at 3 percent.
Sutton leads on the Democratic side, but the race is tight. Sutton has 21 percent and Schiavoni is right behind at 20 percent. Whaley is at 10 percent and former Pillich is at 9 percent.