Back in the end of July, the Columbus Dispatch did an insightful story on how Building a Better Ohio was planning on getting voters to approve Issue 2 at the polls:
The group formed to defend Senate Bill 5 believes the same Quinnipiac University poll released July 20 that showed voters favor repeal of Ohio’s new collective-bargaining law by 24 points also provides a road map of “pressure points” that can change minds before the Nov. 8 referendum.
And with three months until the vote and a $20 million budget, the coalition of Gov. John Kasich confidants and other Republicans known as Building a Better Ohio is confident it can successfully defend Senate Bill 5 against an opposition group that would appear to be riding an avalanche of momentum.
“I am more convinced now than ever that we have a clear path to victory,” said Jason Mauk, spokesman for Building a Better Ohio.
That path, said Mauk and several sources close to the campaign who asked not to be named, includes focusing on components of Senate Bill 5 that poll favorably with voters.
For example, the last two Quinnipiac polls show that voters favor provisions that require public employees to pay for at least 15?percent of their health care, contribute at least 10?percent toward their pensions, and get paid based on merit instead of tenure.
So the plan was to focus on the 15%/10% and merit-pay provisions, which is popular, and run a $20 million campaign on that message, and that’s how the race would close from July. That was the plan. Well, the Building a Better Ohio has definitely done the first part of that plan to death. As for the latter, they’ve constantly batted down rumors that its fundraising was going worse than expected. In fact, Mauk even denied it in this very Dispatch piece. But today the Building a Better Ohio campaign finally had to at least release its campaign finance data on how much it has raised and spent, even if they don’t have to report what each individual donor has given.
Today, the Building a Better Ohio campaign reported raising $7.9 million since the last report that was filed just a couple of days before this Dispatch story ran. In their July report, the campaign reported raising $0.00 since it had just formed. In other words, $7.9 million is all the Building a Better Ohio campaign has reportedly raised so far the entire campaign, a whopping $12.1 million less than expected. All in all, Building a Better Ohio reported raising just a little over a third what they originally budgeted they’d raise.
We Are Ohio, on the other hand reported raising $19 million since July. That’s on top of the $5 million it reported raising through July. Yes, We Are Ohio has reported raising in three months what their opponents expected to raise during the entire campaign.
We Are Ohio also still has $4.5 million on hand; Building a Better Ohio: $1.6 million. That puts We Are Ohio at a little under a 3:1 cash on hand advantage for the final twelve days. By the way, Jason Mauk is getting paid over $8,500 to tell Ohioans how public school teachers are overpaid before returning back to the job waiting for him with the Republican Senate Caucus.
And there’s a reason they don’t disclose how much their donors are giving. Remember the RGA group “Making Ohio Great” that was running third-party expenditure ads featuring Kasich? Yeah, they’re also a donor to Building A Better Ohio (full list after press release). So is Team Wendy, LLC
(“Wendy’s“), the Cleveland Greater Partnership, and Allan Block, Chairman of Block Communications, Inc. (the parent company that owns the Toledo Blade, which has all but endorsed Issue 2 since it was introduced as SB 5.) Motorist Mutual Insurance Company is another corporate donor to Building a Better Ohio. [CORRECTION:] It turns out Team Wendy, LLC is a manufacturing company in Cleveland and has no relation to Wendy’s. We regret the error.
Now the Cleveland Parternship is a major player in Team NEO, which just got millions in state taxpayer dollars given to it from JobsOhio to divy up to “local economic development projects” (i.e. corporate welfare to its members to bribe themselves into not shipping jobs overseas or out-of-state)
and then there’s Wendy’s, which got money for moving back from Georgia, which it was already planning on doing anyways.
Not only is the Ohio Chamber of Commerce a direct donor, but also its multiple political organizations founded by the Chamber such as:
- Ohioans to Protect Jobs (Chamber political group to raise support for Kasich’s budget.)
- Partnership for Ohio’s Future (another Chamber/business political front group)
That’s three organizations that all have one parent source: the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. We don’t know how many, if frankly any, of the individual donors are Ohioans or not.
“While We Are Ohio once again fulfilled our commitment to fully and publicly disclose who has contributed to our campaign to stop Senate Bill 5, Issue 2 supporters continue to operate under a cloak of secrecy,” Melissa Fazekas, a spokeswoman for We Are Ohio, said in a statement.
As for Better Ohio’s strategy, not did they utterly fail to raise even half the money they planned, but all that time focusing on those provisions didn’t change the overall opposition to Issue 2 at all. In fact, support for merit-pay has dropped below 50%.
So, they’re down in the money, how’s the strategy worked out for them? Well, the polls have arguably gotten slightly worse or stayed flat since July. 3:1 cash on hand advantage and a lead in polls means a campaign is going to win just about every time, especially in issue campaigns.