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Author: Don Obrien

Kevin Kelley ends latest campaign finance reporting period with most cash-on-hand of Cleveland mayoral candidates


CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley maintained his cash-on-hand advantage following Friday’s campaign finance report deadline for the race to succeed retiring four-term Mayor Frank Jackson, but two other candidates have outraised Kelly in the past six months.

Kelley had nearly $200,000 more than his next closest competitor, with more than $537,000 in his coffers after raising nearly $213,000 this reporting period, according to unaudited reports from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. Candidates were required to file if they raised more than $10,000 during the period from January through June, though campaigns could voluntarily include donations from July.

However, it was fellow Cleveland City Councilman Basheer Jones who raised the most during the period, tallying more than $367,000 this year and ending the filing deadline with nearly $329,000 cash on hand. Nonprofit executive Justin Bibb also raised more than Kelley this period with more than $241,000, ending the period with more than $208,000 in the bank.

Former Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed also posted a six-digit fundraising figure this period with more than $136,000. However, after spending more than $121,000 and bringing in only $20,000 from the past filing period, Reed ended with the least amount of cash on hand at just more than $35,000.

State Sen. Sandra Williams raised just more than $96,000. Added to her $116,000 she brought from her state Senate campaign account and after spending around $118,000, Williams ended the period with just less than $94,000 cash on hand. However, Williams’ campaign expenditure list did not include $24,000 in donations she made to charities from money connected to FirstEnergy Corp. executives and employees.

Former Mayor Dennis Kucinich, arguably the most well-known of the mayoral hopeful pool, raised just more than $38,000, ending the period with less than $37,000 cash on hand.

West Park attorney Ross DiBello raised around $5,700 while putting in another $4,000 of his own money. He ended the period with just more than $5,600 cash on hand.

Cleveland donations

Kucinich was the only candidate who collected a majority of his haul from Cleveland donors – 68% – though that haul at $26,105 was the smallest amount of any of the candidates. At just 13 donations from the city, Kucinich also had the highest average donation from the city of Cleveland at $2,008 per donation.

Bibb had by far the most Cleveland donors with 461 – more than the other five candidates combined – which accounted for 31% of his total money raised. His average donation from Cleveland was also the lowest total at around $163 per donation.

Kelley raised the most total money from Cleveland donors at $86,713, much of it through businesses, PACs and labor unions, which accounted for around 41% of Kelley’s total fundraising. His average Cleveland donation came to around $1,275, the second highest after Kucinich.

Despite raising the most of any of the candidates, Jones had the second-smallest haul from Cleveland donors at $27,128 – just 7% of his total raised this reporting period. Jones’ average contribution from Cleveland donors was around $543.

Around 41% of Williams’ contributions came from Cleveland donors with an average contribution of around $423. Around 31% of Reed’s contributions came from Cleveland donors with an average contribution of around $1,020.

DiBello reported bringing in around $650 from Cleveland donors through 12 contributions – not including the money he gave himself – for an average contribution of around $54. About 12% of DiBello’s contributions came from Cleveland donors.

Spreading out

Donors also appeared to be spreading their money among the candidates, a possible sign of the current parity in the race between candidates. Margaret Wong, a politically active immigration attorney, gave to every candidate except Jones. University Circle President Chris Ronayne, MinuteMen Staffing CEO Jason Lucarelli and the Laborers Local 860 also spread donations among several of the candidates.

Westlake restaurateur Tony George has also given to four candidates after he and his son, Bobby, gave $5,000 each to Jones. The family – typically associated with Republican politics – has also given contributions to Kucinich, Reed and Williams.

Typical Republican donors Jimmy and Dee Haslam, owners of the Cleveland Browns, also pitched in this period, giving $5,000 each to Kelley’s campaign.



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