INTERACTIVE: Out-of-state dollars fuel Ohio's governor race

Non-residents donated nearly $1.5 million in 2013

CINCINNATI -- If you're hearing and seeing more campaign ads from Ohio Gov. John Kasich in coming months, you can thank dozens of supporters in other states who've donated to the Republican incumbent’s re-election campaign.

A WCPO analysis found that “out-of-state” donors, who presumably have no vote in upcoming elections, gave about $1.4 million to the Kasich campaign last year.

Kasich’s Democrat challenger, Ed FitzGerald, raised $118,019 from outside donors last year.

The cash infusion from outsiders means Kasich will have even more opportunity to spread his mass media message about Ohio’s “economic makeover” under his leadership.

Political analysts say spreading that message with out-of-state dollars makes it that much sweeter.

“He’s building on and taking advantage of his national image,” said Candice Nelson, academic director of the Campaign Management Institute at American University in Washington, D.C.

Nelson noted that Kasich, a former FOX News commentator, has been mentioned as a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

Kasich has said publicly that he’s not interested in running for president.

“People across the country know of him, and he’s found some who are willing to support him, or at least support what he stands for,” she said. “There’s a network of political donors out there now who will do that.”

Kasich Communications Director Connie Wehrkamp, while emphasizing the governor’s “strong base of support in Ohio,” believes outside donors also are needed in a critical election year.

“Ohio's economic turnaround isn't happening by accident, and people here and around the country are paying attention,” she said.

“Those opposed to the progress Ohio has made under Gov. Kasich's leadership will throw everything they can at him this year, which is why the Governor has worked so hard to build a strong base of resources to protect Ohio's progress.”

The WCPO analysis, which looked at campaign finance data filed with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office from January 2013 through January 2014, shows Kasich’s out-of-state network might be growing.

Last year, Kasich’s “outside” funding was about 19 percent of the $7.2 million raised by his campaign. Nearly $246,700 came from Texas – the most money from a single state outside Ohio.

In 2009, the year before he was elected governor, Kasich’s outside donations totaled $797,559 – about 16 percent of the total $5.1 million raised.

The analysis found that 88 percent of Kasich’s 2013 outside cash came from individuals – some with deep pockets – as part of fundraising events.

About a third of outside contributions were single donations of $1,000 or more. Sixty-four were single donations of $10,000 or more.

Compare that to 2009, when only 34 percent of his outside money came from fundraisers. About 19 percent were single pledges of $1,000 or more, and 42 were $10,000 or more.

Democrat FitzGerald’s outside donations represent about five percent of the $2.3 million he raised last year.
He collected $639,696 from fundraiser activities, but only $14,590 from outside donors. Only eight contributions from non-Ohio residents were single donations of $1,000 or more.

Nelson said that while Kasich’s outside donor network is impressive, it's still a relatively small portion of his overall campaign cash.

Consider Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who faces stiff competition in his re-election bid this year.
Walker’s outside donor network has grown steadily since he first announced sweeping changes to collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin.

He raised about $11 million in 2010 when he was first elected governor, and less than 10 percent came from outside the state.

But the latest finance reports show that through the first half of 2013, nearly $2 million of Walker’s $3.5 million in campaign donations have come from out of state.

In a close battle for the state’s highest office, that type of outside influence could make a difference.
But Nelson doesn’t believe Ohio voters have reason to be concerned about Kasich’s out-of-state supporters.

“I don’t think it makes that much of a difference at all,” she said. “It just means he has more money to spend.”

The interactive database below shows just how much money Kasich and FitzGerald received last year from donors in Ohio and other states.

Click on a candidate’s photo, or a state on the map to get donation details for either candidate.


The race for campaign cash in 2013

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