Skip to comments.John Kasich leads among smallest donors (In Ohio Gubernatorial Elections)
Posted on 06/20/2010 6:14:24 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Eileen Lazear says she can't afford much, but she wants to do what she can to help elect Ohio's next governor.
That's why Lazear, a retired Upper Arlington resident, has given Republican nominee John Kasich a $25 contribution each month for the past year and plans to continue doing so until the Nov. 2 election.
"It's all I can afford, but I want to do it because I believe we need a better government," Lazear said.
Kasich's campaign points to contributions from voters such as Lazear as evidence that there is a difference in gras-roots support in his race with Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, as well as an "enthusiasm gap" favoring the Republican.
While Kasich has received nearly 10,800 contributions of $25 or less since he started fundraising in May 2009, Strickland has gotten 630 gifts of that size during the same period, a Dispatch computer analysis of state campaign-finance reports shows.
In fact, the study shows that 80 percent of Kasich's contributions were $100 or less, compared with 37percent for Strickland. And Kasich got nearly 31/2 times as many contributions as Strickland did during the same period.
But Strickland's campaign says the gap is misleading because Kasich is spending thousands of dollars on consultants to solicit contributions and still has not been able to overcome the governor's $2 million lead in cash on hand - even though the governor's campaign shelled out several hundred thousand dollars for its first TV ad.
If the strategy were working, Kasich would have outraised Strickland during the most recent fundraising period and cut into the governor's lead, said Lis Smith, Strickland's campaign spokeswoman.
"It's not some groundswell of support," Smith said. "He is paying to get these small donors, and frankly, it's not a good investment."
Still, Kasich has collected $1million more than Strickland since Kasich started fundraising, and Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols pointed out that Strickland was able to outraise Kasich in the most recent reporting period only after receiving $100,000 from the Ohio Democratic Party the day before the reports were due.
Nichols said Kasich is attracting small donations through his campaign website and direct solicitations, and he suggested that Strickland's priority has been tapping labor unions and big-dollar donors.
"Low-dollar contributions are absolutely a barometer of the grass-roots campaign," Nichols said.
Experts say although it is advantageous for a candidate to be able to boast of a broad range of support, the most important number is how much cash a candidate has to spend to sway voters.
"All these games are played, and I always say the same thing: The only thing that matters is what's in the bank," said Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.
Sabato said it is not unusual for incumbents to draw more large-dollar contributions than their challengers because they know many of those donors and might even have done favors for them.
In Strickland's case, 30percent of the $7.4 million he has collected since May 2009 has come from groups and political action committees rather than from individuals.
By far the largest amount - more than $900,000 - has come from contributions and in-kind services provided by the Ohio Democratic Party State Candidate Fund, records show.
Kasich, by comparison, has collected 7 percent of his $8.4 million from committees and non-individuals, led by $125,000 from the Ohio Republican Party and $100,000 from the Summit County GOP.
Even so, Kasich has collected more contributions than Strickland at the maximum amount for individuals of $11,395.56, and there isn't much difference between the candidates in contributions of $1,000 or more.
The big difference comes in smaller-dollar donors, especially repeat donors such as Lazear. While nearly 1,100 people have given three or more contributions to Kasich, for example, only about 40 have done so for Strickland.
Lazear said she wasn't solicited but followed Kasich in Congress and wanted to contribute. She said she gives a little each month because that's what her budget allows, but she still thinks it can make a difference.
"If they have a lot of little donations, it can add up to something sizable," she said.
Go John go...
Latest polls I believe shows the Ohio gubernatorial race to be neck and neck.
I’ve always liked Kasich.
Was Kasich a member of the Gang of Seven conservatives elected in the Newt uprising back when. Our Frank Riggs was one and Kasich visited here in Humboldt County and then they went down to the Central Valley to raise funds for another conservative...
Kasich had regained a slight lead last I saw.