GOP candidates spent $30 million of their own money
Four GOP candidates for the US Senate collectively spent nearly $30 million of their own campaign money last year, an unprecedented amount of self-funding for a primary contest that shows no signs of slowing down.
Approximately $11.4 million of this amount came from investment banker Mike Gibbons, who loaned his campaign an additional $3.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 despite raising just $81,000. His campaign spent $1.4 million during the same period, according to Federal Election Commission documents.
The wealth poured into the fight to replace Senator Rob Portman has attracted national attention and made it one of the most expensive races in the country. TV and radio advertising spending alone topped $23.9 million, according to Medium Buyinga Columbus-based ad buying and tracking company.
It also has implications for the final months of the primary season: Crowded fields may shrink as candidates run out of money, but it’s unclear whether those falling behind will drop out if they have the resources. personal to continue.
Former State Treasurer Josh Mandel and “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance are the only leading Republican candidates not to be self-funded in 2021. Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Ryan has outplayed his Republican opponents without using his own money.
Self-financing by millions
Monday’s filing was the first for State Senator Matt Dolan, who entered the race months after their opponents. He received about $361,000 from individual donors and political action committees in the fourth quarter and used $10.5 million of his own money to boost his campaign coffers.
Cleveland Guardians owner Larry Dolan, the candidate’s father and other members of the Dolan family separately donated $3 million to a super PAC formed in October, but its purpose is unclear. Under Federal Election Commission rules, the group is not allowed to coordinate with Matt Dolan’s campaign.
Another big spender in the race is businessman Bernie Moreno, who loaned his campaign $3.75 million and launched a $4 million television ad campaign in December. Moreno led the fundraising pack over the summer with $2.24 million, but that number dropped to around $300,000 in the fourth quarter.
In an interview Tuesday, Moreno said he was comfortable with his fundraising numbers and said his investment more than matched what he received from donors. He’s also trying to market himself to voters in an expensive media market, he noted.
“People who are very rich and can buy a seat in the Senate are not really good for democracy,” he said.
Former Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken loaned her campaign $3.5 million in 2021, including $1.5 million in the last quarter of the year. She raised approximately $592,000 during this quarter.
Money, money, money
Mandel has raised the most of any Republican candidate in the last filing period, with nearly $1.4 million between his campaign account and a joint fundraising deal with the Shelby County GOP. He also received a boost from Club for CAP Growthwho spent tens of thousands of dollars last year to support his campaign.
Vance, meanwhile, has raised nearly $975,000 through his campaign and joint fundraising committee. The super PAC backed by Peter Thiel backing Vance reported more than $2 million spent Last year.
Neither reported personal contributions or loans to their campaigns.
On the Democratic side of the race, Morgan Harper has raised more than $877,000 since launching her campaign in August. Ryan brought in more than $8.5 million last year — largely through individual contributions — including transfers from a joint fundraising committee and his congressional campaign.
Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliate news organizations across Ohio.