Stoltzfus’ loans total 60% of money raised for failed congressional campaign

The day before he lost the March 19 Republican primary for the open 6th Congressional District seat, state Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus loaned $133,000 to his campaign.

That was on top of the $250,000 he gave it on Dec. 21.

Stoltzfus, R-Paris Township, provided nearly 60% of the $645,692 his failed campaign raised.

In comparison, state Sen. Michael Rulli, R-Salem, who won the primary, raised $609,701 for his campaign with $30,400 coming from him. Less than 5% of the total money raised by Rulli’s campaign came from the candidate.

Rulli beat Stoltzfus by about 8.5% in the Republican primary.

A third Republican, Rick Tsai of East Palestine, came in a distant last.

Tsai raised $42,223 for his campaign with $9,454 coming from the candidate. More than 22% of the funds collected by Tsai came from him. Tsai also listed $8,432 in campaign debt and only a $99 surplus as of March 31.

Congressional candidates recently filed first quarter campaign financial reports. But the “first quarter” term is misleading as they had to previously file preprimary reports for financial activity between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28. The first quarter report is for Feb. 29 to March 31.

That period of 32 days was productive for Rulli, who raised $166,966, including $57,800 from political action committees.

His largest contributor in the quarter was Koch Industries PAC, one of the largest Republican committees in the country, who gave him $10,000 on March 5.

Rulli spent $557,606 on his successful Republican primary win including $275,413 in the first quarter reporting period.

His largest expenses in the quarter period were $95,000 to Media Ad Ventures of Springfield, Virginia, for commercials; $69,261 to Ax Media of Kansas City, Missouri, for commercials; and $32,500 to Ironclad Consulting of Hilliard for fundraising consulting.

Rulli had $52,095 in his fund as of March 31.

But he listed $77,413 in debt — with $37,719 to Media Ad Ventures being the largest amount. Rulli’s debt was larger than his campaign fund balance as of March 31.

Rulli is running in the June 11 special general election for the vacant congressional seat against Michael L. Kripchak of Youngstown, who won the Democratic primary. That election is for the unexpired term of Republican Bill Johnson, who resigned Jan. 21 to become Youngstown State University president.

The two will face off again in the Nov. 5 general election for the full two-year term that starts in January 2025.

Stoltzfus raised $157,985 between Feb. 29 and March 31 with $133,000 coming from the candidate.

For the campaign, Stoltzfus spent $643,229 with $395,118 spent in the first quarter period.

His largest expenses in the first quarter period were $192,771 to Flexpoint Campaign of New Albany for television commercials, $85,920 to Monkey Crayon Media LLC of Westerville for campaign mail, and $32,000 to Jamestown Associates of Philadelphia, Pa., for media production.

Stoltzfus’ campaign had a $2,463 surplus as of March 31.

Money raised and spent in the Democratic primary for the 6th District was significantly less than the Republican one.

Kripchak, who won the primary by a margin of nearly 2-to-1 over Rylan Z. Finzer of Perry Township, raised $5,226 for the campaign.

That includes a $500 loan from the candidate and $2,049 in in-kind funding provided by him for costs for printing, stamps, a service to text voters, photos, a website and to pay poll workers. Nearly 50% of the money raised came from Kripchak.

After spending $1,895 on his campaign, Kripchak had $3,331 in his campaign fund as of March 31.

Finzer didn’t file a first quarter report. He had reported raising $5,178, including $500 of his own money, during the preprimary period, and spending $3,302.

The district has an 18% advantage for Republicans based on voting trends in partisan statewide elections over the past decade. The seat is considered safe for Republicans.

The 6th Congressional District includes all of Mahoning, Columbiana, Carroll, Jefferson, Belmont, Harrison, Monroe, Noble and Washington counties and portions of Stark and Tuscarawas counties. Mahoning is by far the district’s most-populous county. In the Democratic primary, Mahoning voters accounted for about 40% of the district’s total vote number. In the Republican primary, 25% of the total votes came from Mahoning County.


U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce, a Bainbridge Republican seeking his seventh two-year term in Congress, raised $277,693 between Feb. 29 and March 31. Of that amount, $206,705 came from PACs with 12 PACs giving $5,000 each to his campaign.

Joyce received 77% of the vote in the Republican primary beating Elayne Cross of Kent and Ken Polke of Saybrook.

Joyce spent $22,660 in the first quarter period.

For this campaign, Joyce has raised $1,606,445 and spent $1,094,998.

Because of a large carryover from previous campaigns, Joyce had $2,466,708 in his campaign fund as of March 31.

Polke didn’t file a report with the Federal Election Commission.

Cross reported raising $6,265 for the campaign with $3,780 coming from her. Of the money for her campaign, 60% came from Cross.

In the first quarter period, she raised $125 and spent $58.

She had $599 in her fund and listed $5,597 in debts.

Brian Bob Kenderes, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination in the 14th District, has yet to file a campaign finance report with the FEC.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office charged Kenderes on March 22 with a fifth-degree felony of filing a false voter registration. The office alleges Kenderes lives in Strongsville, but filed his candidate declarations and his voter registration with the Lake County Board of Elections stating he lives in Mentor.

Kenderes is to be arraigned Tuesday in Painesville Municipal Court.

The 14th District includes all of Trumbull, Ashtabula, Lake and Geauga counties and all but two communities in Portage County. Trumbull is the second most-populous county behind Lake.

The district has a 10% Republican advantage based on voting trends in partisan statewide elections in the past decade. It is considered a safe Republican district.

Joyce won the district by 23.5% in 2022 over Democrat Matt Kilboy.


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