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Ryan rebounds in fundraising

Raising money for elected office really hasn’t been U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s thing.

Some politicians have no problem asking for money while others just aren’t that good at it.

Ryan, D-Howland, hasn’t really needed to raise a lot of money over the years as he’s rarely had serious competition for his seat since he first won it in 2002.

During his ill-conceived presidential bid, Ryan’s inexperience with raising money was highlighted.

When he was an active candidate, he raised the second-least amount of money among those seeking the Democratic nomination. He even collected less than those who had quit that race a couple of months before he did.

As a House member, Ryan rarely raises even close to what others in neighboring districts collect.

While Ryan often has about $100,000 to $200,000 in his campaign account, U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, and Dave Joyce, R-Bainbridge Township, usually have more than $1 million each. Also, consider that they’ve been in Congress for less time than Ryan and that Johnson represents one of the poorest districts in the state.

So it was quite impressive that Ryan raised $306,010.53 during the second quarter — more than either Johnson or Joyce, but more notably, it was about three times the amount that Christina Hagan of Marlboro Township, his Republican challenger, raised during that time.

Hagan raised $108,846.25 in the second quarter.

This came after Ryan raised $276,409.43, and Hagan collected $120,851.28 during the first quarter. Putting two solid quarters together is something Ryan needs as he faces his toughest challenger to date.

It came after Ryan raised a so-so $137,882.90 in the final three months of 2019 and downright embarrassing $30,255.83 and $42,883.03 in last year’s second and third quarters, respectively.

Part of the credit for the turnaround goes to Kimberly Padilla who was hired to lead Ryan’s fundraising efforts. Padilla has extensive experience with fundraising in Ohio including Sherrod Brown’s three successful Senate campaigns.

Another part is Ryan has become more disciplined at raising money and equally as important not spending more than he brings in — which he has done in many quarters.

After an impressive showing in the Republican primary, Hagan can concentrate on raising money for her general election challenge to Ryan, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

As of June 30, Ryan had $393,607.84 in his campaign fund compared with $130,190.14 for Hagan.

It’s a lead, but not a very large one. For example, Joyce had $1,441,816.96 and Johnson had $1,109,281.48 in their campaign funds as of June 30.

Not only does Ryan need to keep a commanding financial lead on Hagan, he needs to stay ahead of the Ohio Freedom Fund, a “dark money” group that spent $97,500 during the Republican primary on ads that helped Hagan and blasted Louis G. Lyras of Campbell, one of her primary election opponents.

Twelve days before the 11th-hour postponement of the March 17 Ohio primary, the Ohio Freedom Fund received $75,000 on March 5 from an unknown entity named Invest in Ohio — both use Ohio in their names, but are based in Washington, D.C. — to spend to help Hagan’s campaign.

The primary was moved to April 28 with Invest in Ohio giving Ohio Freedom Fund $25,000 on April 20 with $22,500 going to ads to prop up Hagan and damage Lyras.

If these outside entities are willing to drop nearly $100,000 to help Hagan win the primary, they’re likely going to spend considerably more on her bid to win the general election.

Skolnick covers politics for The Vindicator and the Tribune Chronicle.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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