The top four fund-raising Republican campaigns in the 8th Congressional District race have received tens of thousands of dollars from inside and outside the district since the December filing deadline to be on the March 15 primary ballot.
State Sen. Bill Beagle, Warren Davidson, State Rep. Tim Derickson and Jim Spurlino have all invested into their own campaigns, with all but Derickson investing six-figures. Davidson and Spurlino have each boosted their campaign coffers with $200,000, and Beagle gave his campaign $141,000. Derickson has loaned his campaign $20,000.
Extrapolating those loans from the equation, the highest percentage of fund-raising within the six-county district comes form Derickson’s campaign. Just shy of 60 percent of the money raised by Derickson for Congress has come from within the district, which includes all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami, Preble counties and the southernmost portion of Mercer County.
Among the top fundraisers, the second highest in-district percentage is Beagle with 24.5 percent, followed by Davidson with 17.5 percent, and Spurlino with 12.6 percent.
The two candidates with the lowest in-district fund-raising percentage have the highest out-of-state campaign contributions.
Nearly 73 percent of Davidson’s campaign funds came from 27 other states, which includes a dozen donors from the New York/New Jersey area and 11 donors from states that are part of the Washington, D.C., Beltway.
Spurlino’s campaign has collected 65.5 percent of its donations from outside Ohio. Those donors come from 20 other states, including 10 from Texas and six from Florida.
Baylor Myers, spokesman for Spurlino for Congress, said the campaign is “proud of our support” and the Middletown businessman from Washington Twp. “won’t be beholden to special interests or lobbyists.”
Spurlino has received zero outside money from so-called special interest groups in support of his campaign, and no money has been spent in opposition to him.
Like Spurlino, Beagle has not received any support from outside groups, but more than $238,700 has been spent in opposition to his candidacy.
Only 12.4 percent of Beagle’s donations come from outside Ohio. Donors from just six other states have given to the Tipp City lawmaker.
Derickson has less than 10 percent of his campaign coffers coming from outside Ohio. Donors from four states and the District of Columbia have given to the Hanover Twp. lawmaker.
Colton Henson, Derickson spokesman, said it’s attributable to the “unparalleled ground game” and message they’ve relayed to voters.
The outside money has been the ire of at least three other candidates. J.D. Winteregg, Scott George and Kevin F. White issued a joint statement regarding the outside money being spent in this congressional race.
The trio said there is “unique opportunity” to “change the conventional wisdom of campaigning for a federal seat.”
“Unfortunately, several outside organizations have decided that they want to use this race to push their interests here and in Washington, D.C.,” according to the joint statement. “The race to claim the seat John Boehner occupied is a trophy for these outside organizations.”
Miami University Hamilton political science professor John Forren said this is a product of the Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which determined money equals free speech.
“Critics of the Citizens United ruling argued that we would see the effects in not only of president but down-ballot races,” he said.
This is significant, Forren said, because based on the district’s makeup — majority conservative in all six counties — the winner of this primary race “is likely to serve in this office for years to come.”
So the top fundraising candidates will continue to jockey through Election Day for position in the final throes of this congressional campaign up until Election Day on March 15.
“Our strategy from day one has been to communicate personally with as many voters in the 8th Congressional District as possible,” said Vandegriff.
Derickson’s strategy is similar, though Henson called the campaign’s ground game “unparalleled,” and will continue to highlight Derickson’s “record of accomplishment — closing the $8 billion deficit and lowering taxes on all Ohioans.”
Griffen-Liedel said the plan heading into Election Day for Davidson is to make sure voters know who the Troy businessman is, and make sure he knows the voters and “continue working tirelessly to reach every voter until the polls close.”
Myers said Spurlino will continue to speak to voters on the major issues, such as economy, jobs and illegal immigration.
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UPDATE: A late filing Wednesday evening on the Federal Elections Commission website shows Americans for Concrete had amended an earlier filing. Two of its opposition ads are also in support of Jim Spurlino. The collective expenditure for the direct mail ads was $20197.97.