WASHINGTON, DC — If you’re not already a well-known politician and want to run for Congress in Ohio, you better be prepared to put your own money where your mouth is.
Quarterly campaign finance reports that show spending on congressional races in northeast Ohio indicate that most first-time candidates have invested thousands of dollars in their goal to serve in Congress, while that more established politicians have not had to dip into their own pockets to finance campaigns.
Someone like former Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes doesn’t have to be self-supporting. Since her announcement in January that she is running for Congress in the newly reconfigured Democratic-leaning 13th District that includes most of Summit County and parts of Stark County, donors have poured in $350,212 for her campaign. Sykes, who has no primary opposition, spent $108,452 and had $241,760 in his account at the end of March.
His donors of $1,000 included former Massachusetts Congressman Chet Atkins, Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce, former National Democratic Party Chairman David Wilhelm and Summit County Councilman John Schmidt. His parents, longtime Democratic politicians Barbara and Vernon Sykes, each donated $5,000. Forest City Enterprises executive Ronald Ratner donated $5,800. Former US Congressman Zack Space of Dover donated $500 and former US Representative Betty Sutton of Copley Township donated $250.
North Township attorney Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, a conservative commentator and co-chair of the Women for Trump advisory board that is endorsed by the ex-president, had more money in the bank at the end of March than Sykes and the other Republicans seeking the seat. To do this, she went into debt of $200,000.
Her record shows she raised $238,385 during the quarter and spent $82,281. Her campaign had $506,245 in the bank, as well as a $200,000 loan to itself on its books.
Political action committees associated with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Republican Conference Speaker Elise Stefanik each donated $10,000 to Gilbert’s campaign. His other contributors included restaurateur Robert T. George, who gave $5,800 and JM Smucker Company CEO Tim Smucker, who gave $2,900.
Former congressional aide Shay Hawkins of Broadview Heights raised $94,533 in the quarter, including $3,000 he lent to his campaign and more than $8,000 in campaign expenses he paid from his own pocket. His campaign had $91,174 in the bank at the end of the reporting period and $18,000 in debt to campaign consultants.
Contributors to Hawkins’ campaign included former Cuyahoga County GOP Chairman Rob Frost, who gave $2,900, and former U.S. Representative Steve Stivers’ Campaign Committee of Columbus, who gave $4,000. $. A political action committee associated with Hawkins’ former boss, U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, donated $5,000. The parents of U.S. Representative Anthony Gonzalez of Rocky River, who decided to retire after voting to impeach former President Donald Trump, gave Hawkins $2,500.
Barberton lawyer and accountant Greg Wheeler raised $83,338 during the quarter and spent $61,003. He had $104,334 in the bank at the end of the reporting period and an $82,000 campaign debt to himself.
Anti-abortion activist Janet Folger Porter of Hinckley raised $29,337, spent $730 and had $28,607 in the bank at the end of March. His campaign had no debt.
Stow’s construction project engineer, Ryan Saylor, raised $12,460, spent $8,690 and had $3,770 left. He donated $2,200 to his own campaign and did not identify it as a loan.
The debt scenario is similar in the redesigned 7th Congressional District, which includes Medina and Wayne counties, western Cuyahoga County and northern Holmes County. The top fundraiser is former Trump aide Max Miller, who spends more than half a million dollars of his own money on the race.
Miller raised $146,567 in the first quarter of the year and spent $514,276. He ended the quarter with $601,268 in the bank and $550,000 in debt to himself. His donors included Crawford Group CEO Ed Crawford who contributed $2,500, $2,900 from Jacobs Engineering Group CEO Steve Demetriou, $2,900 from Rocky River realtor Kimberly Crane. He got $2,900 from George Group CEO Thomas T. George and $5,500 from Thogus owner Matthew Hlavin.
Small business owner Charlie Gaddis of Medina said he raised $1,250 in the quarter, spent $3,174 and loaned his campaign $19,356. He ended the quarter with $35,327 in the bank.
Nonprofit founder Jonah Schulz raised $10,224 during the quarter, spent $6,931 and had $12,061 in the bank. His report showed a $2,500 loan from a relative to Chardon.
The lone Democrat in the race, Bay Village podcast producer Matthew Diemer, said he raised $6,411 in the first quarter of the year and spent $13,148. His campaign had $2,218 in the bank and debts of more than $38,000 to Diemer himself.
Although she was overspent when she won last year’s special election for the congressional seat left vacant by the departure of Marcia Fudge as head of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Rep. American Shontel Brown of Warrensville Heights raised more than challenger Nina Turner in the first quarter of the year. for their next Democratic primary rematch.
Brown raised $745,260, spent $186,851 and had $891,782 in the bank. Blackstone Group chief operating officer Jon Gray donated $5,800 to his campaign, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft donated $2,900, while Cleveland Browns owners James and Susan Haslam, each gave him $500. Much of Brown’s individual donations were funneled into his campaign through pro-Israel organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and NORPAC, repeating a dynamic that unfolded during last year’s contest.
More than $200,000 of Brown’s contributions came from political committees. The Congressional Black Caucus gave him $5,000, and the political committees of House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer and Democratic Whip James Clyburn each gave $2,000.
Turner, a former Ohio state senator who co-chaired Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, raised $609,323 during the quarter. After spending $464,204, his campaign had $259,131 in the bank and owed vendors $138,827. Turner donated $660 of his own money during the reporting period.
Ben & Jerry’s executive Ben Cohen donated $2,900 and co-founder Jerry Greenfield donated $1,000. Young Turks host Cenk Uygur donated $2,900, Arab American Institute president James Zogby donated $1,000, and former Elastica singer Justine Frischmann donated $100 .
The seat they seek encompasses much of Cuyahoga County. None of the Republican candidates in the district had filed a report by Friday’s deadline.
Longtime Republican U.S. Representative Dave Joyce of South Russell said he raised $361,014 in the quarter and spent $84,910. He had $1.6 million in the bank and no debt. Most of the money he raised – $219,160 – came from political action committees.
Republican Patrick Eugene Awtrey, a Parma Heights businessman who wants to represent the district that includes Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula and Trumbull counties and most of Portage County, said he raised $100 during the quarter. and spent $406. He had $5,045 at the end of the quarter.
The lone Democrat in the race, small-business owner Matt Kilboy of Deerfield in Portage County, said he raised $19,813 in the quarter — largely from the candidate himself — and spent $11,382. . His campaign had $15,497 in the bank and $15,000 in loans from Kilboy.
In the remodeled 5th congressional district that includes Lorain County, incumbent Republican Rep. Bob Latta of Bowling Green raised $172,421 in the quarter, spent $62,957 and had $945,049 in the bank. More than $120,000 of his donations came from political action committees. The district was drawn to favor the GOP.
A Democratic presidential candidate, Amherst council member, and public school teacher Martin Heberling III, said he raised $6,188 and spent $195. He ended the quarter with $5,994 in the bank and $1,173 in self-funded loans.
Craig Stephen Swartz, a former Upper Sandusky board member and realtor who is chairman of the Democratic Wyandot Party, told the FEC that his fundraising fell below the $5,000 threshold that would require him to file a report.
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