Monday, Aug 20, 2018
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Follow the campaign cash?

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Ohio Attorney General and former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, left, and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted are piling up a huge campaign war chest.

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The leading Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor — Mike DeWine and Jon Husted — are piling up a huge campaign war chest, presumably to overwhelm Ohio voters with TV advertising come next October.

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According to campaign finance reports filed with the Ohio Secretary of State, Mr. DeWine and Mr. Husted, having pooled their campaigns in 2017, ended the year with more than $10 million in their campaign account.

Their only real Republican opponent, Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor and her running mate, Nathan Estruth, trail far behind, with only $3.5 million in the bank. Almost all of that is money that Ms. Taylor loaned to her own campaign. Her argument would be that a ticket that isn’t financed by special interests and lobbyists is one that will be more likely to be able to chart its own course in office.

On the Democratic side of the ballot, the Democratic establishment favors Richard Cordray, the former director of the U.S. Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection who was also Ohio attorney general and Ohio treasurer. But a new poll by the nonprofit and nonpartisan political group, the 1984 Society, shows that Mr. Cordray holds only a small lead going into the May 8 Democratic primary over former Cleveland congressman Dennis Kucinich, with most Democratic voters undecided.

Both Mr. Cordray and Mr. Kucinich launched their campaigns too recently to have much of a financial warchest. But Mr. Cordray says he and his running mate, Betty Sutton, raised over $2 million in the last two months. Mr. Kucinich hasn’t said much about his finances.

Traditionally the money race is considered the pre-primary primary. Mr. DeWine is thought the front-runner, which helps him to raise money, which money reinforces the view of him as the front runner. The political logic is circular, often reinforced by the press.

But the fun, as well as the hopefulness, of politics, is that there are often surprises. Sometimes a front-runner turns out to be a stiff. Or he commits a gaff from which he never recovers. Or an underdog taps a vein of popular sentiment, as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders did in 2016. Voters can still think. And they can rebel.

The money race is a part of the race, but it is not the race.

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