CINCINNATI - It will be months before voters elect Cincinnati's next mayor, but John Cranley has jumped to an early lead over Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls in the money race.
Campaign finance reports for the 2012 calender year show Cranley raised $176,471 through Dec. 31. Qualls raised $94,569 to go with roughly $60,000 carried over from her last city council campaign. After adjustments for money spent by the candidates in 2012, Cranley's $170,877 campaign balance leads Qualls by about $36,000.
Xavier University Political Scientist Gene Beaupre said the race is too early for the numbers to be decisive.
"Nothing more than temporary bragging rights," Beaupre said. "Both of them can go to the next round and say, 'Look how much I've raised.' Anybody who's not in the race yet will have to go to donors and say, 'I don't have any money' and make a case on why they should give it."
Candidates have until June to formally enter the race for mayor in advance of a Sept. 10 primary. Libertarian Jim Berns announced his candidacy earlier this month. The Hamilton County Board of Elections had no campaign finance report from Berns, as of the 4 p.m. deadline Thursday.
Real estate developers contributed a sizable chunk of Cranley's donations, many of them donating the maximum $1,100 contribution from multiple limited liability companies. Among Cranley's largest donors were Louis Beck, a Cincinnati-based mortgage banker and chairman and CEO of Janus Hotels & Resorts, who contributed $9,900 from nine different LLCs. Office developer Dan Neyer, founder of Neyer Properties, donated $9,300. Residential developers Barry Randman and Dan Schimberg, founder of Uptown Rental Properties, contributed $4,400 each.
Qualls' list of $1,100 donors included local coal shippers James and Edward Hatfield, real estate investors Marilyn and Martin Wade, attorney Stan Chesley, arts patrons Otto Budig and Melody Sawyer Richardson and Cincinnati Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini. Reds owner Bob Castellini gave $600 each to both campaigns.
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