COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — It turns out Ohio's roller coaster primary season was just as tumultuous under the hood as it was on the surface, as personal loans drove one Republican campaign's spending above $14 million and an eager Democrat spent himself into the hole.
In reports filed Friday, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor reported spending more than $5.4 million in the final weeks of her losing the Republican primary to gubernatorial rival Mike DeWine.
That brought her spending since last year to $14.3 million, a sum that included repayment of a $3.25 million personal loan that became the subject of an election complaint in Republicans' bitter battle.
Taylor's markedly negative campaign forced DeWine, the attorney general, to spend $3.7 million for the same period, reports showed. But he has still managed to bank $7.2 million for the fall general election — including some funds stowed before 2017 and a $1 million loan.
That's almost three times the $2.6 million that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Richard Cordray has in the bank for their November faceoff.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed Cordray, a former federal consumer watchdog, in a statistical tie with DeWine, one of Ohio's most well-known politicians. The race is among Democrats' highest hopes nationally to take a governor's chair from Republicans this year.
"Momentum is increasing every week as I travel the state and talk to voters about the kitchen table economic issues that keep them up at night worrying: a good education, affordable health care, and economic opportunity," Cordray said in a statement.
But Cordray reported raising $2.7 million for the period compared to the $3.1 million collected by DeWine's fundraising machine. The campaign of DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted said $1 million was raised within 72 hours of DeWine's GOP victory.
"Mike DeWine and Jon Husted cannot be outdone on the campaign trail, their grassroots energy is unmatched, and today's report, like each of the reports before it, shows they are the candidates to beat," campaign manager Dave Luketic said in a statement.
Taylor ended the primary season about $190,000 in the hole.
Democratic former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a presidential contender whose grabbed national attention, raised about $845,000 and ended the campaign $5,000 in the red.
Democratic state Sen. Joe Schiavoni raised about $736,000 beginning in 2017 for his long-shot bid, while former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill, the fourth Democrat in the race, collected contributions totaling about $78,000.