Ohio Daily Blog

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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Ohio Congress Critters: Who's Got the Cash?

CQPolitics has an analysis by senior reporter Greg Giroux of campaign cash held by all 435 members of the House of Representatives heading into the next election cycle. The accompanying story notes that the two Congressional campaign committees (DCCC and NRCC) will be pressuring those who don't face tough re-election fights to turn over cash to retire national party debt from 2006, and there is plenty enough around for that purpose if the individual representatives cooperate:
The 435 winners of last year’s House elections began 2007 with their cumulative campaign accounts totaling $159.1 million, which is nearly seven times the $23.7 in cumulative debts reported by the DCCC and NRCC.

The 233 House Democrats had a total of $87.3 million banked, an average of $375,000 per House Democrat; a total nearly 10 times the DCCC’s debt of $9.3 million.

The 202 House Republicans had banked $71.9 million overall, an average of $356,000; the cumulative sum is almost exactly five times the NRCC’s debt of $14.4 million.
However, members of Congress don't like to give up the money. Few of them ever really feel "safe" and the 2008 election is really not that far off. A healthy cash balance helps to deter challengers in the next election. Also, those with ambitions of running for the Senate will want to start hoarding cash for that purpose.

None of Ohio's representatives are anywhere near the top five in campaign cash on hand. Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA), whose Senate hopes were presumably dashed when Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) announced that he would run for re-election in 2008, has the most at $5.1 million. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), another possible contender were Kerry's seat open, follows at $2.42 million. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), mentioned for Sen. Frank Lautenberg's seat if he had opted to retire, has $2.41 million. Republicans Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and David Dreier (R-CA) are next with $2.3 and $2.2 million, respectively.

Ohio has only three above the average amount (rank out of 435 shown after name):
  • $816,103 Marcy Kaptur (D-9th) - 52nd
  • $748,507 Dave Hobson (R-7th) - 64th
  • $389,592 John Boehner (R-8th) - 138th
Those are very healthy balances for Kaptur and Hobson, neither of whom faced serious challengers in 2006. I wonder if they have possible Senate aspirations in 2010 (assuming, in Hobson's case, that Sen. George Voinovich will retire), or if they will turn cash over to their national party committees to generate political good will. I'm surprised that Boehner's amount isn't higher -- former Republican Congressional leader Tom DeLay was famous for using his campaign account to solidify alliances by doling out contributions to fellow members of Congress.

The following three are below the average amount but still in six figures, putting them in good position for 2008 if they run again:
  • $139,841 Steve LaTourette (R-14th) - 253rd
  • $112,863 Pat Tiberi (R-12th) - 270th
  • $106,540 Ralph Regula (R-16th) - 279th
LaTourette was able to conserve cash in 2006 because challenger Lew Katz didn't have enough money to get on TV. He strikes me as a possible Senate contender. Maybe. I'm surprised that Tiberi has this much, since self-funded challenger Bob Shamansky put up a tough fight in that district. Regula is rumored likely to retire, freeing up his cash for other purposes.

Then there are a half dozen above the $50,000 mark, which is still a substantial chunk of change:
  • $78,752 Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-11th) - 299th
  • $70,230 Deborah Pryce (R-15th) - 311th
  • $66,883 Steve Chabot (R-1st) - 317th
  • $62,673 Tim Ryan (D-17th) - 321st
  • $59,683 Charlie Wilson (D-6th) - 326th
  • $59,445 Jim Jordan (R-4th) - 328th
Pryce and Chabot had very tough races so I'm surprised to see them with this much left. Wilson's race looked tough at the outset and turned into a cake walk. Tubbs, Ryan, and Jordan are in pretty safe districts. Ryan is another name to keep in mind for that 2010 Senate race.

Finally, here are the bottom five, three of whom spent just about everything they had:
  • $32,255 Dennis J. Kucinich (D-10th) - 378th
  • $27,458 Zack Space (D-18th) - 388th
  • $8,870 Jean Schmidt (R-2nd) - 418th
  • $6,459 Betty Sutton (D-13th) - 421st
  • $5,951 Michael R. Turner (R-3rd) - 423th
Kucinich, of course, can spend his leftover cash on his presidential campaign. Space needs to start fund-raising for 2008 immediately (if not sooner) because he has a huge target on his back. Schmidt and Turner can also expect very competitive races. I'm not sure that is true of Sutton, who had a tough primary but defeated Mayor Craig Foltin (R-Lorain) quite handily.

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At February 7, 2007 3:14 PM , miker said...

Mr. Hobson is currently 70 years old, and by 2010 I seriously doubt that he will be in position to move to the Senate, assuming Sen. Voinovich will retire. Maybe he can spend some of his cash revitalizing Springfield!!


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