Danny O’Connor has more than 10 times Troy Balderson’s money going into November rematch
WASHINGTON, D.C. - After narrowly winning an Aug. 7 special election for a Columbus-area congressional seat, newly minted GOP Rep. Troy Balderson of Zanesville is badly losing the fundraising battle in his November rematch with Democratic Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor, Federal Election Commission filings show.
Reports that covered the pair’s campaign fundraising from July 19 through Aug. 27 showed O’Connor had more than $1 million in the bank at the end of August, compared with under $93,000 for Balderson.
O’Connor took in almost $4 million during the period covered by the report, including more than $1.4 million he got after losing the election by 1,680 votes. Balderson raised slightly more than $500,000. Roughly $180,000 of the cash Balderson raised came from political action committees.
O’Connor’s campaign said he got donations from more than 92,000 people in the period covered by the report, most of whom gave small amounts of money. Most donors listed in his report were from outside of Ohio.
“We have thousands of people chipping in $5 and $10 at a time,” said O’Connor’s campaign manager Annie Ellison. “They are excited about Danny’s campaign for new leadership. And we are really proud of that.”
Balderson’s campaign had a different take on O’Connor’s haul.
“Liberal out of state special interest groups are continuing to prop up Danny O’Connor’s campaign in their efforts to retake the House and put Nancy Pelosi in the Speaker’s chair,” said a statement Balderson released through his campaign before his own report was filed. “While O’Connor’s campaign has raised 90% of his campaign funds from liberal out of staters, our campaign is funded by hard-working Ohioans who want someone who will fight for them and their middle class values.”
O’Connor’s campaign got more than $114,000 from political action committees, including $5,000 each from organizations associated with autoworkers, boilermakers and firefighters unions. He also got a $5,000 donation from a committee associated with New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker and $2,000 from Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign committee.
The political committees that contributed to Balderson included Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which gave $2,000, and political committees associated with aspiring House of Representatives speakers Kevin McCarthy of California, who gave $4,000, and Jim Jordan of Champaign County, who gave $2,000. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s political committee gave $5,000 to Balderson, as did political action committees for Koch Industries, Murray Energy, and Cardinal Health.
O’Connor’s campaign said Balderson’s report demonstrated he’s “beholden” to corporations and party bosses.
“We’re proud of the grassroots support behind Danny’s campaign for new leadership because people are ready for someone who isn’t beholden to any corporation or party boss, that’s why he didn’t take a single dime of corporate PAC money and 92% of contributions were for $50 or less,” Ellison said. “Central Ohioans get excited for new leadership when they hear from Danny, and with this grassroots army we’ll have the resources to communicate his message.”
O’Connor’s biggest expenses were more than $2.6.million spent on media production and buys, and digital services. He felt financially secure enough to give a $25,000 contribution to the Ohio Democratic Party on Aug. 10.
Balderson’s campaign spent more than $400,000 on media buys and more than $42,000 on fundraising services. He also paid the Republican National Committee $25,000 for a campaign event.
Records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics indicated that outside groups spent more than $5 million so far to back Balderson and oppose O’Connor, while groups sympathetic to O’Connor have spent around $1.3 million.
“My record of balancing budgets, cutting taxes, and delivering results are what Ohioans are looking for in a Congressman, as evidenced by my victory in the August special election,” said a statement from Balderson. “We will have the necessary resources to deliver that message and defend against any attacks from the O’Connor-Pelosi team.”