Dayton area congressional races attract big money

FILE -- The U.S. Capitol in Washington on Oct. 1, 2020.  (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)
FILE -- The U.S. Capitol in Washington on Oct. 1, 2020. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)

Two Democratic challengers outraise Republican incumbents

Three Dayton area elections rank in the top four of Ohio’s 16 congressional races for dollars raised this election cycle, including one race that brought in $17.59 million.

In the 4th Congressional District, Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Urbana far outraised his opponents, bringing in a massive war chest of $16.17 million. Wright State political science Professor Lee Hannah likened Jordan to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — somebody who is “bigger than his position.”

“There’s a few things going on,” he said. “I have heard his name floated for actually trying to challenge (Sen. Rob) Portman in the Republican primary in 2022 ... it might be kind of a broader financial support because people see him as a possible challenger to Portman.”

Lee said Jordan may be looking to become the standard bearer for the right wing of the Republican party and move into a higher position within the House.

“It is worth noting that that your ability to fundraise can can raise your profile in Congress,” he said.

In two other local races, — Democratic challengers Kate Schroder in the 1st Congressional District and Desiree Tims in the 10th Congressional District — outraised their incumbent Republican opponents U.S. Reps. Steve Chabot and Mike Turner, respectively, in the last two filing quarters.

Hannah explained that some of the last surge in donations for those Democrats is coming from individuals and organizations like ActBlue that are giving money strategically to targeted House districts.

“There’s some enthusiasm from within the area, there may be some Democrats who live in Cincinnati and Dayton who haven’t given in the past but they think this candidate has a real shot so now they are opening up their wallet," Hannah said. "But also there’s quite a bit of outside money, people who just want to see more Democrats elected to office.”

For example, Schroder received over $240,000 from House Victory Project 2020, a joint-fundraising committee that donated similar amounts to Democrats across the country this cycle. Over $700,000 has been funneled through ActBlue to Tims' campaign and over $400,000 to Schroder’s campaign.

Turner said in an emailed statement, “Unbelievably, Desiree’s DC lobbyist connections have funneled over $1.5 million from outside of our community in an attempt to buy this congressional seat.”

“Voters can see the projects I’ve worked for as mayor and as their congressman, and I appreciate their support.”

Also in an emailed statement, Tims thanked her donors who chipped in “$5, $10, $25 donations."

“Unlike my opponent, I don’t take corporate PAC donations,” she said. "Instead, I’m running a campaign fueled by grassroots energy. I come from a working-class family and that’s who I’ll fight for in Congress.”

In the 8th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, outraised Democrat Vanessa Enoch with about $970,000 to her $40,000. Hannah said Davidson may also be trying to demonstrate his fundraising skills and put on a “strategic show of force.”

Ohio 1st Congressional District: Rep. Steve Chabot (R) vs. Kate Schroder (D) vs. Kevin David Kahn (L)

Total raised: $6.37 million

State rank: 2

In Ohio’s 1st Congressional district, which covers all of Warren County and most of Hamilton County, Schroder outraised Chabot in the last two quarters to surpass him with more than $3.5 million to his nearly $2.9 million, according to ProPublica. Chabot drew about 32% of his donations from PACs and Schroder drew about 5% from PACs. Libertarian candidate Kevin David Kahn raised about $11,000.

Ohio 4th Congressional District: U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R) vs. Shannon Freshour (D) vs. Steve Perkins (L)

Total raised: $17.59 million

State rank: 1

Jordan far outraised his opponents in this district that extends from Champaign County to include all of Shelby, Union, Logan, Auglaize, Allen, Crawford, Seneca and Sandusky counties and parts of Mercer, Marion, Huron, Erie and Lorain counties. According to ProPublica, Jordan brought in $16.17 million, 2% of which came from PACs. Freshour brought in $1.35 million, less than 1% of which was from PACs.

Ohio 8th Congressional District: U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson (R) vs. Vanessa Enoch (D)

Total raised: $1 million

State rank: 14

Davidson brought in the bulk of the money for this race: about $970,000, 47% of which came from PACs. Enoch raised a little under $40,000. The district incorporates all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami and Preble counties, and the southernmost portion of Mercer County.

Ohio 10th Congressional District: U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R) vs. Desiree Tims (D)

Total raised: $3.3 million

State rank: 4

In the second and third quarters of this year, Tims outraised Turner by enough of a margin to overtake him. According to ProPublica, Tims has raised $1.7 million, 6.9% from PACs, while Turner raised $1.6 million, 30.5% from PACs. Ohio’s 10th Congressional District covers Montgomery, Greene and Fayette counties.

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