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It’s boom times for Tim Ryan’s fundraising

The ability of U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s Senate campaign to raise more money from donors and increase the amounts compared to others in the race is a surprisingly impressive feat.

Over the years, I’ve mentioned Ryan’s struggles to attract donors despite being in the U.S. House for almost 19 years and during his failed presidential bid.

When I asked about his impressive $2,511,219 haul in the third quarter, Ryan, D-Howland, said: “We’re going to be able to compete (with Republicans). We get less money per donor, but we have a lot more donors than they do. To be in this position, quite frankly, no one thought we’d be here. There’s been critics of my fundraising in the past.”

To put Ryan’s contributions from July to September in perspective, you need to look at what the other candidates got from donors and transfers made from joint fundraising committees in their Senate funds in the third quarter.

On the Republican side, ex-state Treasurer Josh Mandel raised $865,936; former Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken got $560,110; J.D. Vance, an author and venture capitalist, reported $975,995; businessman Bernie Moreno received $708,872; and businessman Mike Gibbons picked up $133,255.

Democrat Morgan Harper, an attorney and community organizer, raised $535,909 in the third quarter, but she didn’t announce until Aug. 18.

Another way to look at Ryan’s fundraising is to compare it nationally with other Senate Democratic candidates. In the third quarter, he raised the eighth most among all Senate Democratic candidates, including incumbents, and a remarkable third among nonincumbents.

It’s also the most money raised ever from donors in Ohio by a Senate challenger in the third quarter the year before the election.

This wasn’t an isolated quarter for Ryan.

He raised $2,258,303 in the second quarter with only Moreno, at $2,249,069, near Ryan. Moreno fell off a cliff in the third quarter compared with what he raised from donors. That resulted in him putting $3 million of his personal wealth into his campaign.

In the first quarter, Ryan raised $1,216,187, more than any other Senate candidate from donors. The money was raised by Ryan’s House account in anticipation of his Senate candidacy.

It’s apparent that Republican donors aren’t rallying around a particular Senate candidate in Ohio before the May 2022 primary. That is leaving the candidates to either fend for themselves — and the top ones are all wealthy — and / or rely on rich benefactors.

A few also are using joint fundraising committees to raise most of their money.

In the third quarter, four of the Republican candidates put a total of $6.35 million into their Senate accounts.

Moreno led the way with $3 million, and it was the first time he contributed to his campaign.

Gibbons put in $2.25 million this quarter. He gave $5.67 million in the second quarter.

Gibbons told me: “If I spend time raising money, it’s time I am not talking to voters. I’m sure once I’m in the lead, it will be a lot easier to raise funds. I have a name-recognition problem because I’m a businessman.”

Gibbons said he was going to spend $10 million on advertising up to the May 2022 primary to increase his name recognition. His third-quarter report showed he’s already spent $3 million on commercials.

Timken dropped another $1 million of her money into her fund in the third quarter. She gave $1 million to her campaign in the first quarter as well.

The third quarter was Vance’s first reporting period. He gave $100,000 to his campaign May 19 as part of his exploratory committee.

Vance also has the support of Protect Ohio Values, a super political action committee largely funded by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and Vance’s former boss. Thiel gave $10 million on March 12 to the super PAC.

Through three quarters, Mandel hasn’t given any of his own money to his campaign.

But he hasn’t had to despite not receiving a lot from donors.

That’s because Mandel had a significant amount of money he raised and didn’t spend in his failed 2012 Senate campaign and his abandoned 2018 Senate bid.

Mandel had $5,859,961 in the fund as of Sept. 30. That’s the most for any candidate running for this seat.

After a Republican emerges from the party’s primary, it’s likely several GOP donors will coalesce around the winner meaning Ryan — or Harper — will have to greatly rely on support from Democratic donors to be financially competitive.

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