Ohio governor’s race fundraising hits record high: Capitol Letter

October 4, 2018

Ohio governor’s race fundraising hits record high: Capitol Letter

Rotunda Rumblings

A new record: The 2018 race for Ohio governor has already attracted the most money in state history, and there’s still more than a month left in the campaign. As cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer writes, Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine have raised a combined $38.1 million as of Wednesday. 

Back in the Buckeye State: President Donald Trump is planning an Ohio visit on Friday, Oct. 12 as part of a six-state tour to help vulnerable GOP House candidates. As Pelzer explains, it’s not yet clear exactly where in the state Trump’s going to go -- though word is it won’t be to help U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson, leaving U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot’s Southwest Ohio district as the most likely target.

Fighting opioid addiction: The U.S. Senate on Wednesday signed off on a long-awaited package of legislation to fight opioid addiction that contained components authored by both Ohio senators - Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown - as well as GOP Rep. Bob Latta of Bowling Green.  Trump is expected to sign the bill, according to cleveland.com’s Sabrina Eaton.

Can’t complain if you didn’t vote: Ohioans have less than a week to register to vote in the midterm election. Cleveland.com’s Laura Hancock explains where you can get voter registration forms and where you can send them. 

Seize the candy: The Ohio Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of a 2015 traffic stop in which a Cleveland State University cop pulled over a driver and found 150 individually wrapped SweetStone marijuana-infused candies. Hancock describes the majority opinion that the officer had probable cause for the part of the search in which the candy was discovered. 

O’Connor money train keeps chugging: Democrat Danny O’Connor’s 12th Congressional District campaign announced it has raised nearly $6 million in the third quarter of 2018, entering October with just over $1 million on hand, Pelzer reports. The question now is how much money Balderson will report raising during that time.

College affordability: A legislative committee that studied college affordability released a report with numerous recommendations for the full legislature to adopt. Hancock describes some of the ways the General Assembly could keep costs down. 

Searching for answers: As part of our ongoing work with Google, cleveland.com’s Andrew Tobias took a look at Ohio’s most-searched political questions over the past week. Ohioans want to know who’s running in the midterms and how Republicans are likely to fare. They also continue to be interested in health care.

New processor: The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program announced Wednesday that Ohio Medical Solutions Inc. in Akron won a provisional processing license. That means the company, if it gets a certificate of operation, could manufacture products from cannabis in the allowable forms patients can use, such as oils, tinctures, capsules, edibles, patches, creams and ointments.  

A matter of opinion: A slew of notable Ohioans came out for and against Issue 1 on Wednesday, a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would lessen penalties for drug possession and favors treatment over incarceration. In support of Issue 1: Franklin County Judge Chris Brown and the Christian Coalition of Ohio – which has taken out statewide radio ads in support of it. 

No way: Against the proposed constitutional amendment are bipartisan Lorain County leaders: Judges Mark Mihok, John Miraldi and Gary Bennett, Elyria Police Chief Duane Whitely, Avon Lake Police Chief Duane Streator, Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti, Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will and state Rep. Nathan Manning. 

Past issues: Democratic treasurer candidate Rob Richardson has faced legal questions twice in his past about his handling of money, according to the Associated Press. Richardson’s ex-wife accused him of setting up a private bank account to shield a $100,000-plus work bonus shortly before their divorce; Richardson also was sued for breach of contract in a 2004 mortgage deal. Richardson’s campaign said both allegations were unsubstantiated. Two can play this game: Mahoning County Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe on Wednesday filed a Federal Election Commission complaint claiming U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s campaign failed to place a box around the “Paid for by Tim Ryan for Congress” disclaimer at the bottom of a piece of campaign literature. As the Youngstown Vindicator reports, Munroe acknowledged it was a “minor infraction,” but he said he filed it in response to a Democratic Ohio Elections Commission complaint that GOP state Senate nominee Michael Rulli improperly used his family’s grocery store to distribute campaign materials.

Let’s talk about it: An analysis of Republican U.S. Senate nominee Jim Renacci’s nearly 50 phone calls with North Canton businessman Ben Suarez shows that many of them – including some of the most lengthy – came while Suarez was being investigated for suspicious political contributions. As the Columbus Dispatch’s Marty Schladen reports, Renacci, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, declined to say what was discussed during the calls with Suarez, who was convicted in 2012 of witness tampering.

Also in the story: “Suarez said he plans to file a slander suit and take other action against Brown, possibly as soon as this week.”

Prison profits: Trump’s immigration crackdown has meant big bucks for the company that owns the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown. As cleveland.com’s Eric Heisig reports, the center is one of five facilities in Ohio that contract with the federal government to detain men with pending cases in immigration court. Its population grew exponentially after recent federal immigration raids in Northern Ohio.

Full Disclosure

Five things we learned from Sara Bitter’s April 6 financial disclosure. Bitter, a Democrat from Loveland in Hamilton County, is running against Republican state Rep. Steve Wilson in Senate District 7.

1. Bitter has four sources of income: She works for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She receives book royalties from Amazon.com. She is on the Protocol Steering/Safety Review Committee for Neuro NEXT. Bitter is also an advisory committee member for the University of Cincinnati Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Community Advisory Committee. Since she is not an incumbent, she doesn’t have to report income.

2. Bitter is on the board of the Greater Cincinnati Adapted Sports Club.

3. She invests in the Federal Retirement Thrift Savings Plan as well as the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

4. At some point last year, Bitter owed more than $1,000 each to PNC Bancorp Inc., Cincinnati Police Federal Credit Union, Conduent Education Services and American Express.

5. Bitter has a law license.


Ex-President Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893)Samuel Huntington, 3rd Ohio governor (1765-1817)Othniel Looker, 5th Ohio governor (1757-1845)

Straight From The Source

“Look at what we have here...”

- Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, citing a 2013 tweet from Republican Mike DeWine saying “Obamacare is a bad law” and calling for its repeal. Democrats say DeWine, the GOP nominee for governor, is not being honest when he says he supports protection for people with pre-existing conditions, which was part of Obamacare.

Capitol Letter is a daily briefing providing succinct, timely information for those who care deeply about the decisions made by state government. If you do not already subscribe, you can sign up here to get Capitol Letter in your email box each weekday for free.

Update hourly