By David Skolnick
Incumbent state legislators from the Mahoning Valley raised and spent significantly more money than their Republican challengers in efforts to get re-elected.
Campaign finance reports for April 7 to Oct. 17 show the Democratic incumbents, for the most part, relied heavily on political action committees to give them the lion’s share of the money they raised.
In the 59th Ohio House District race, incumbent state Rep. Ronald V. Gerberry, a Democrat from Austintown, received $68,975, much from PACs including $6,000 from the Wholesale Beer & Wine Association of Ohio, $2,500 from the Ohio Education Association Fund for Children and Public Education, and $2,000 each from the FirstEnergy and Ohio Nurses Association PACs.
Gerberry is spending $12,660 for commercials on 21 WFMJ-TV, beginning today and running through Election Day.
In comparison, Kimberly Poma of Boardman, Gerberry’s Republican challenger, raised $24,390 between April 7 and Oct. 17, including a $1,500 contribution from the candidate.
With her campaign $139 in debt as of Oct. 17, Poma has pulled her local network TV affiliate ads before they were to run.
In the 63rd Ohio House District race, incumbent Sean J. O’Brien, a Democrat from Brookfield, raised $31,930 compared with $2,670 raised by Pat Paridon of Niles, his Republican opponent.
In the 64th Ohio House District, incumbent Thomas B.J. Letson, a Democrat from Warren, received $41,850 in contributions compared with $2,836 for his Republican challenger, Randy Law of Warren.
State Sen. Capri S. Cafaro of Liberty, D-32nd, raised the most of any state legislator from the Valley with $118,010.
In addition to PAC money, Cafaro also received at least $42,200 from her family — which made its fortune by operating malls and other shopping complexes. She also gave $10,000 of her own money to her campaign.
Her Republican opponent, Nancy McArthur of Chardon, didn’t file a campaign finance report with the Ohio secretary of state.
State Rep. Robert F. Hagan, a Democrat from Youngstown, is running unopposed.
He received $43,073 in contributions with the big one of $11,543 from the SEIU District 1199 Political Contributing Entity.
Hagan said he is giving much of the money to fellow “progressive” legislators and candidates.
“I’m helping to get my friends elected,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do [with the money I keep]. I may run for [Youngstown] mayor or something. I need to maintain some money.”
In the 7th District Court of Appeals race, challenger Mark A. Hanni raised more than incumbent Judge Mary DeGenaro.
Hanni received $86,755 from donors and loaned $15,100 of his own money to the campaign.
Judge DeGenaro, seeking her third six-year term, raised $37,100 between April 7 and Oct. 17. She had $35,061 going into the pre-general-election period.
DeGenaro is spending $30,305 on Youngstown-area TV network affiliates for commercials compared with Hanni’s $35,335.
The court has jurisdiction over eight counties, but the population center is Mahoning and Columbiana counties.