Analyst: Timing Of Campaign Money More Important

With ten days left until Election Day, many candidates will be pulling out all the stops to gain voter support. WOSU viewed the campaign finance reports of three Central Ohio U.S. Congressional races and got some analysis on what the money means for the races’ outcomes.

While some candidates appear to be well funded for a final push for office, other candidates have less money on hand to rally support.

Two years ago, Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy won her bid for U.S. Congress by a small margin. This year, the race for the 15th district seat remains competitive. Kilroy trails her republican challenger, Steve Stivers, in campaign money raised but not by much. While Stivers has garnered more than $2.4 million, that’s only about $28,000 more than Kilroy.

So far, Kilroy has spent about 30 percent more money than her challenger. John Green who directs the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron said when campaign money raised is about equal the race usually will be close. But Green said the candidate who spends the most money does not always win. He said having enough money is what’s important.

“When a candidate has a lot of money at the end that often allows them to do more last minute advertising, get out the vote efforts. So the timing may in some sense be more important than that overall amount,” Green said.

While Stivers appears to be in a better position in the final days before the election than Kilroy, Green said special interest groups can fill the advertising gaps that candidates’ campaigns may be unable to do. In the 12th District, Republican incumbent Pat Tiberi has raised $2.8 million that’s about double what his Democratic challenger, Paula Brooks, has collected.

And with just a little more than a week to go before the election, Tiberi has more than $1 million in cash compared to Brooks’ $400,000.

Green said the 12th District race does not appear competitive. “Typically the money that matters most is the challenger’s money. The incumbent’s money is important, too, but the challenger’s is key. And Congressman Tiberi, like many incumbents has clearly been able to build up a big war chest. His opponent has probably not raised enough to be competitive,” Green said.

And finally, the 18th District race Democratic Congressman Zach Space has raised more, spent more and has more money on hand than his Republican challenger Bob Gibbs.

“Ordinarily the 18th probably wouldn’t be that competitive given the finances we’re talking about here, but in this particular year, because of the outside money, that could make up for the lack of funds of the part of the challenger,” Green noted.

And of all the candidates in this story, Space has the most cash left on hand at nearly $1.4 million.

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