State legislators raise most funds from PACS

YOUNGSTOWN — Incumbent state legislators from the Mahoning Valley have raised significantly more money than their challengers — thanks largely to money from political action committees.

The incumbents either raised all or an overwhelming majority of their money during the pre-primary-election period from PACs. The filing period is between Jan. 1 and Feb. 26.

The primary is March 17 though there are no contested primaries in Mahoning County and only two in Trumbull County.


State Rep. Don Manning, R-New Middletown, running for re-election to the Ohio House’s 59th District seat, raised the most money out of any legislative candidate in Mahoning County.

Manning received $16,000 in contributions during the pre-primary period with $13,000 of it coming from PACs. That includes $5,000 from the Ohio State Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters of Westerville and $4,000 from ACT (Affiliated Construction Trades) Ohio Foundation Political Contributing Entity of Columbus.

Among his largest expenses during the reporting period was $1,800 to Sign Rocket of St. Paul, Minn., for campaign signs, $1,207 to the Athletic Club of Columbus for a fundraiser and $1,000 to the campaign of Christina Hagan, who’s running in the Republican primary for the 13th Congressional District.

With money he already had and after expenses, Manning had $57,830 in his campaign fund as of Feb. 26.

Chris Stanley of Canfield, his Democratic opponent, raised $1,786 with $1,000 coming from state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown. Lepore-Hagan also gave $1,000 to Stanley’s campaign last year.

After expenses, Stanley had $1,460 in his fund as of Feb. 26.

In the House’s 58th District race, Lepore-Hagan raised $5,500 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 26 with all of it coming from PACs. The largest contributor was $4,000 from the Drive Committee, which is the Teamsters PAC in Washington, D.C.

David T. Simon of Youngstown, her Republican opponent who she beat in the 2018 election, raised $400 and spent $150 during the pre-primary period.


State Sen. Sean J. O’Brien, D-Bazetta, raised the most money of any state legislator representing the Valley during the pre-primary period.

He’s running unopposed in his party’s primary for re-election to the Ohio Senate’s 32nd District seat.

He will face the winner of the Republican primary between Sandra O’Brien of Lenox Township and Kenneth J. Polke of Ashtabula. Neither Republican filed a pre-primary report, which is only required if a candidate raises or spends at least $1,000.

Sandra O’Brien raised $25 in the second half of 2019 and loaned $1,000 to her campaign while Polke didn’t file a report last year.

The Democratic incumbent reported $16,607 in contributions between Jan. 1 and Feb. 26 with $15,250 coming from PACs.

His largest donors were $5,000 from the Operating Engineers Local 66 District 2 Political Contributing Entity of Boardman, $3,000 from the Ohio Credit Union Legislative Action Committee of Columbus, and $2,500 from the Ohio AFL-CIO PCE of Columbus.

Sean O’Brien spent $5,485 in the pre-primary period with his biggest expense being a $2,500 contribution to the Trumbull County Democratic Party.

As of Feb. 26, his campaign fund had $192,448 in it.

In the House’s 63rd District race, state Rep. Gil Blair, D-Weathersfield, raised $6,720 with $5,950 coming from PACs during the pre-primary period. The biggest contributors were $2,500 from the United Steelworkers PAC of Columbus and $1,000 from Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.’s PAC of Columbus.

He spent $11,138 during the period with $2,751 going to Donahue Supply of Logan for 1,500 campaign signs, $2,243 to Innovative Signs of Mineral Ridge for “large campaign signs,” and $2,000 to the county Democratic Party.

After expenses and with money he had before Jan. 1, Blair had $7,226 in his campaign fund as of Feb. 26.

Blair was appointed to the seat in June 2019, filling a vacancy left by the resignation of Democrat Glenn Holmes.

Blair has two Democratic challengers in the primary: Niles Councilman-at-Large Barry Profato and Werner Lange of Newton Falls.

Profato hasn’t filed a campaign finance report.

Lange’s pre-primary report showed he raised $895 and spent $822. With money he had before Jan. 1, Lange’s campaign fund had $721 in it as of Feb. 26.

Mike Loychik of Cortland, the Republican nominee for the position, reported a single $1,500 contribution from Eric Kennedy of Youngstown and a $200 loan from the candidate.

After expenses, Loychik had $315 in his campaign fund.

In the House’s 64th District race, incumbent state Rep. Michael J. O’Brien, D-Warren, and Martha Yoder, a West Farmington Republican, are running unopposed in their respective primaries.

Yoder, who lost to O’Brien in the 2016 and 2018 elections, reported raising $180 and spending no money during the pre-primary period. With money she carried over from before this year, she had $1,856 in her fund as of Feb. 26.

Michael O’Brien received $5,500 in contributions, all from PACs, during the pre-primary time. That included $2,500 from the United Steel Workers PAC of Columbus and $1,000 from the General Motors Co. PAC of Washington, D.C.

After expenses and including money he had from previous years, O’Brien had $52,363 in his fund as of Feb. 26.



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