Gov, Sen, AG: Fundraising Results Reported
Candidate fundraising totals are reported in detail in the Akron Beacon Journal, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Columbus Dispatch. In a related story, the Dispatch reports that Republican Caucuses in the Ohio Senate and House have a huge fundraising lead over their Democratic counterparts.
Just to recap in brief, at $3 million raised Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) has surprised everyone and is outpacing all contenders, Jim Petro (R-Rocky River) has more cash on hand than Ken Blackwell (R-Cincinnati) although Blackwell raised more last year, and Paul Hackett (D-Indian Hills) is trailing Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) significantly. If you add Hackett to Brown you get almost as much as incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine (R), but that means little since Hackett and Brown are looking at a serious primary battle and DeWine is not. Also, George Bush is coming to Ohio in order to draw right-wing high-rollers to a DeWine fundraiser on February 23.
The thing that caught my attention was the enormous boost in Betty Montgomery's fundraising in January, after switching to the attorney general race. This is all about the outrageous changes to Ohio campaign finance law passed by the Republicans in 2004, raising the individual contribution limit from $2,500 for both primary and general elections to a whopping $10,000 for each. When Montgomery switched races, she raked in new $10,000 primary campaign contributions from reliable Republican donors around the state, and she gets to do it again after the primary. Plus, despite the objection of primary opponent Tim Grendell, Montgomery is rolling her gubernatorial campaign contributions into her new attorney general campaign. The new reality in Ohio is that wealthy and corporate donors dominate campaign financing, and almost all Democratic candidates will be running at a serious financial disadvantage in 2006. Add that to the Republican voter-suppressing and recount-limiting measures contained in House Bill 3, passed along party lines and signed by Taft yesterday (as reported here and here), and you have an abjectly dysfunctional democracy in Ohio ... like you'd expect in a third world banana republic, not here in the USA.