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Ryan’s Senate campaign money unprecedented

The $17.2 million Democrat Tim Ryan’s campaign raised from donors for the U.S. Senate race in the third quarter is a staggering amount that’s never before been seen in Ohio.

Also, the $19.2 million his campaign spent between July and September is a jaw-dropping amount of money that’s never before been seen in the state.

Ryan still is considered the underdog — he’s acknowledged that — but he’s making the Senate race against Republican J.D. Vance quite competitive.

This was the third quarter in a row in which Ryan has set records for the most money raised by an Ohio candidate for the U.S. Senate, and each time he’s shattered the previous amount.

In the second quarter, Ryan raised a then-record $9,133,487 from donors. Before that, he had the old record of $4.1 million in the first quarter. He collected more in the third quarter than the

two previous record quarters combined.

Overall, Ryan has raised about $39 million and spent about $37.5 million for his campaign as of Sept. 30.

As I wrote last week, money isn’t the only thing that matters in political races, but candidates much more often than not prefer to have that advantage over their opponents.

Most polls show a statistical tie between Ryan and Vance.

Some election analysts and Republican operatives have correctly pointed out that numerous polls, including of Ohio races, have underestimated and / or undercounted support of GOP candidates.

Also, the two debates between Ryan and Vance could play a major role in this election.

Until this campaign, Ryan was never able to raise a lot of money. Among incumbent U.S. House members in Ohio, he usually ranked among the lowest in collecting campaign funds.

His 2020 re-election effort was his financially strongest and during that two-year cycle, Ryan raised $1,991,087.

Ryan, first elected in 2002 to Congress, almost certainly raised more money in the last three months for his Senate bid as he did during his entire career in the House of Representatives.

It’s a different scenario as those outside of Ohio are considerably more interested in a Senate race than one for the House. That’s why Ryan has attracted so much money from those from other parts of the country.

Ryan’s campaign reported that it had just over $1.5 million in funds as of Sept. 30, the final day of the third quarter.

Ryan ended the second quarter with $3.6 million in his fund. Ryan raised $17.2 million in the third quarter and finished with about $2 million less cash on hand than he had in the second quarter so he spent about $19.2 million in the third quarter.

The Nov. 8 election is only a month away, and early voting starts Wednesday.

Vance used Ryan’s record amount in an attempt to raise money for his campaign. In a fundraising email, Vance’s campaign wrote: “We absolutely NEED your help so he cannot buy this seat.”

Vance’s fundraising amounts have been much less than Ryan, and he was near the bottom of the field of Republican candidates who sought the party’s nomination in the May 3 primary regarding campaign money.

A number of his opponents were self-funded while Vance was able to count on PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, his former boss, who gave $15 million to Protect Ohio Values, a super political action committee that supported his election.

Thiel has shown no signs of giving that kind of financial support in the general election to help Vance.

But Vance is getting significant assistance from the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC connected to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The fund has committed $28 million to help Vance and has already spent close to $13 million.

Vance and Ryan have until 11:59 p.m. Oct. 15 to file their third-quarter financial reports to the Federal Election Commission.

Vance won’t come close to what Ryan raised in the third quarter.

In a fundraising email, Vance wrote: “Tim Ryan HEAVILY outraised me.”

His committees raised $2,371,538 in the second quarter. That’s a little more than a third of what Ryan raised in the second quarter.

Without Vance’s $700,000 loan to his Senate fund, it would have ended the second quarter with a deficit.

Also, for part of the third quarter, Vance was focused on retiring his primary election debt.

Skolnick covers politics for The Vindicator and the Tribune Chronicle.

dskolnick@vindy.com

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