SHEFFIELD TWP. — Spending on behalf of state Rep. Nathan Manning’s re-election campaign nearly cracked $500,000.
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Manning, R-North Ridgeville, spent $115,670 out of his own campaign coffers, according to his campaign finance reports, the most recent of which was due Friday. Manning’s first campaign report for the general election, filed in October, showed he had also received $109,318 in in-kind contributions from state Republicans.
His most recent report showed no such activity, but Manning said he will have to amend his report to show an additional $269,705 in support from state party organizations, most of which was spent on media buys. Manning said his campaign treasurer filed the second report early and then went on vacation in an area without internet access.
When the treasurer returned, he received information from the state party detailing the additional expenditures, Manning said. The additional funds bring the total in-kind contributions for Manning to $379,023.
That brought the total spent for Manning’s campaign to $494,694.
Manning said he has little control over how much state Republicans spend on his behalf, but he welcomes any help they want to provide. He said the point of fundraising is to make enough to run a highly competitive race.
“At the end of the day, nobody knows what’s going to happen,” he said. “You don’t hold anything in the bank waiting to see what happens. You use it.”
Manning’s Democrat opponent, Kelly Kraus Mencke, said she wasn’t surprised by the amount of money spent to help Manning secure another term, but she questions whether it was really necessary and what impact it will have on Manning’s actions in Columbus. She also said Republicans do better at fundraising in Ohio because their party has a virtual lock on state government.
“It’s not a secret that the Republican Party has more influence when it comes to dollars,” she said.
Mencke’s campaign finance reports show she spent a total of $10,360 and received $2,877 in in-kind contributions.
In the race to replace term-limited state Rep. Terry Boose, R-Norwalk, the Republican candidate, Dick Stein, also far outspent Democratic opponent Huron County Commissioner Tom Dunlap.
Stein’s reports show he spent $27,468 out of his campaign account and received $315,488 in in-kind contributions from state Republicans.
Dunlap spent $47,271 out of his campaign war chest, while receiving $10,609 from state Democrats.
Stein said spending was so high in his race because Republican leaders expected Democrats to spend heavier in the race than they did. He also said that because the seat he won falls into the media markets of Cleveland and Toledo, it costs more to campaign.
“We did both radio and cable and regular broadcast, and when you put all that together, it adds up pretty quickly,” he said.
Dunlap said he knew he would be outspent by Stein and was actually surprised the Republicans hadn’t spent more in the race. He added that it wasn’t money that carried the day for his opponent.
“(Money) didn’t have anything to do with it. It was a complete Republican sweep across the state,” he said. “This was a year where if you didn’t have an R behind your name, you were done.”
By comparison with those two races, state Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, ran a bargain-basement campaign in his successful re-election bid. Ramos spent $40,946 on his race against Republican Jesse Tower, who spent $6,616 and received $4,177 in in-kind contributions although those came from her friends and family rather than her party.
In county races, Republican Connie Carr spent $38,921 in her bid to unseat Lorain County Commissioner Lori Kokoski, who spent $31,666 on her re-election.
Kokoski, a Democrat who won her fourth term in November, said she spent more this year than she has on previous races because of the uncertain political climate this election season and Carr’s strong showing in the Republican primary in which she was unopposed.
Kokoski said Carr needed to spend a lot to increase her name recognition given the nature of the race.
“She ran a good race, very professional,” Kokoski said. “You’ve got to spend the money when you’re running against an incumbent.”
The biggest spender in a countywide race was Democrat Chris Cook, who spent $39,510 on his way to winning the right to serve out the remainder of the term of former county Common Pleas Judge James Burge, who resigned last year.
Judge Michele Silva Arredondo was appointed to fill the position, but lost the Republican primary to Will Spiegelberg.
Spiegelberg’s campaign finance reports show he spent a total of $363 from his official campaign account. He also made $1,275 in in-kind contributions to his own campaign.
Spiegelberg said he spent a lot of time going door-to-door, but his relative newness to the county may have made him underestimate the need for more traditional campaign expenditures. But he also said Cook was a worthy opponent.
“I lost to an extremely good opponent, and I think he’ll do a good job,” he said.
Cook said given the limitations placed on judicial candidates, it’s often necessary to spend money for a candidate to get their name and qualifications out to the public. He said he wasn’t surprised he outspent Spiegelberg, but he never took the race for granted.
“Just being able to outspend your opponent is no guarantee of victory,” he said.
The race between Democrat Sherry Glass and Republican Krista Marinaro to replace retiring county Domestic Relations Judge Debra Boros was also expensive.
Glass, who won, spent $27,425 on her campaign, while Marinaro spent $22,826 and received $6,230 in in-kind contributions from friends and family to bolster her campaign, according to their respective reports. Glass received $510 in in-kind contributions.