The $9.1 million U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan raised from donors in the second quarter for his Senate campaign is an amount never before seen in Ohio.
Still, I don’t know if it’s enough to get him elected in a largely Republican state during a year expected to be terrible nationally for Democrats.
While money doesn’t always translate to victories, particularly in the situation Ryan finds himself in, he is proving to be a formidable candidate.
A poll commissioned by Ryan’s campaign shows a statistical deadheat for the seat with Republican J.D. Vance.
While polls paid for by campaigns often come with a healthy dose of skepticism, northeast Ohio native Kyle Kondik, a national expert who analyzes elections for the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said Impact Research, which did the poll, is “well-respected.”
The poll, conducted between June 27 and 30, shows Ryan with 48 percent support to 46 percent for Vance and 6 percent undecided. The poll had a 3.4 percent margin of error. A June 1 poll by the USA Today Network Ohio and Suffolk University showed Vance at 41.6 percent and Ryan at 39.6 percent with a 4.4 percent margin of error.
The latest poll comes not only shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, but also as Ryan’s campaign already spent almost $7 million on commercials. They include one in which he touts support from commentators on conservative Fox News and another in which he said he agreed with former President Donald Trump on trade. Vance has gone dark since winning the May 3 Republican primary.
Vance had until 11:59 p.m. this past Friday to file his second quarter campaign finance report. It’s fair to say he won’t report having raised anywhere close to the amount of money Ryan did.
Throughout the campaign, Vance trailed four other Republican candidates in fundraising.
As of April 13, he had raised $2,527,669, a tiny amount compared to the $19,305,623 Mike Gibbons raised as of June 30 and the $11,219,837 Matt Dolan raised as of April 13. Those amounts came largely from their personal wealth.
Vance gave $700,000 to his campaign as of April 13.
Vance gained momentum a few weeks before the primary when former President Donald Trump endorsed him.
Also, Vance hasn’t had to worry about fundraising as Protect Ohio Values, a super political action committee that backed him, made sure to get out his message.
PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Vance’s former boss, gave $15 million to the super PAC during the primary. It is the largest amount ever given to help any Senate candidate in history.
Shortly after the primary, CNN, citing anonymous sources, said Thiel wouldn’t be putting any more money into races this year, though that could change.
Meanwhile, FF PAC reported it spent $720,135 last week for campaign ads criticizing Vance over his anti-abortion position. FF PAC is a major Democratic super PAC that spent more than $100 million in just the final five weeks of the 2020 election in support of President Joe Biden.
It already has spent about $450,000 running the ads in the Columbus and Cleveland markets and has reserved another $500,000, so the super PAC apparently is getting involved in the Senate race in Ohio in a big way. Attempts to reach FF PAC for comment were unsuccessful.
If the super PAC spends more in Ohio, it will be a huge boost to Ryan’s campaign.
Ryan already has raised about $21.7 million for his Senate campaign.
But his campaign reported he had about $3.56 million in his fund as of June 30, so he’s spend it almost as fast as he’s collected it. Much of that is because Ryan stayed on TV after the May 3 primary and plans to continue that through the Nov. 8 general election.
It should be noted the $9.1 million Ryan raised between April and June was more than he raised in all of 2021, so the financial momentum is with him as he has broken donor financial records for Senate candidates in Ohio for two straight quarters.
Vance’s supporters say Ryan has spent much money and all he can show is a statistical tie with the Republican.
This also comes before Vance starts spending and the super PACs pay millions to get Vance’s message out.
David Skolnick covers politics for the Youngstown Vindicator and Warren Tribune Chronicle, sisters Ogden newspapers of the Columbiana County newspapers. He can be reached at email@example.com