Fundraising numbers give insight into competitive primary races

Yesterday was the filing deadline for pre-primary campaign finance reports. The pre-primary period begins January 1 and ends April 16 – about three and a half months. As always, there were some interesting takeaways.
Several of the top headlines were well covered by the media yesterday. You can get a good rundown of the numbers from the gubernatorial race, as well as several of the other statewide races here. In the General Assembly, the Republican House and Senate caucuses have maintained a clear advantage over their Democrat counterparts. In the Senate, the GOP has $3.2 million on-hand to the Democrats $131K. The difference is even more pronounced in the House, where Republicans have a 19-1 advantage – $4.4 million to $231K.
With the primary less than two weeks away, here are some developments in the more competitive primary races:
  • Embattled Rep. Pete Beck hasn’t raised a dollar since January, making his primary race in House District 54 an even steeper hill to climb. Both challengers to Beck have spent a considerable sum on the race so far. Mary Jo Kubicki has spent nearly $40K, while Paul Zeltwanger has total expenditures around $30K after loaning his campaign $50K. This one seems to be a toss-up.
  • The last filing deadline had challenger Jill Miller Zimon, a former Pepper Pike councilwoman, with a cash advantage on Rep. John Barnes in the HD 12 Democratic primary. Zimon has maintained that advantage – and then some. Through April 16, she had spent nearly $40K on the race, while Barnes, who has been endorsed by OCCPaC, spent $11K. Expect this to be close.
  • Republican Argeri Lagos posted an impressive haul in House District 79, raising nearly $57K and spending $46K. His opponent, Kyle Koehler, spent $24K. Expect this race to be close as well.
  • Former Supreme Court justice Bob Cupp, who has been endorsed by OCCPaC, seems to be in a good position in the Republican primary in House District 4. He added $18K to the $40K he had at the beginning of the year, while spending $26K during the reporting period. His opponent, former Lima City Councilman Kurt Neeper, only raised about $2K and spent less than $4K. Cupp’s name ID in Allen County combined with these figures makes him the clear favorite.
  • The three-way GOP primary in House District 28 has taken shape. Blue Ash councilman Rick Bryan has spent $37K on the race, and attorney Jonathan Dever is close to the $20K mark. Both have a considerable amount on-hand as well. The third candidate, Angel Clark, has only spent a little over $2K. It looks like it’s between Bryan and Dever, with Bryan having a slight advantage.
  • Bill Reineke looks like the favorite in the GOP “write-in” primary in HD 88. The car dealer pulled in $59K following Rep. Rex Damschroder’s withdrawal from the race due to faulty petitions. Rhonda Damschroder, Rep. Damschroder’s wife, only raised $300. A third candidate, Richard Geyer, raised $400. It will be tough to get write-in votes if you don’t have the resources to tell voters you need them to write your name in – no matter how familiar it may be.

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