Last week was the filing deadline for candidates for state-level office in Ohio to file campaign finance reports with the Secretary of State. (You can search all reports here and find out who’s giving to candidates and parties and where the money is going) These reports show how much money campaigns have raised in the filing period — in this case from July 1 through December 31 of 2019 – and give an indication of strength going into the primary and general election season.

Alexis Miller, Phil Robinson, Sara Bitter

Alexis Miller, Phil Robinson, Sara Bitter

Here are the five House Democrats with the most impressive fundraising totals from the most recent filing. We’re not including Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, who led them all by raising $107,000. Unlike Sykes, the following are not members of leadership and are all in tough districts that are currently – or were until recently – held by Republicans, where the ability to raise money will be crucial.

Casey Weinstein – House District 37 – Weinstein, who narrowly won in 2018, flipping this this suburban Summit County district for the Democrats, led all fundraising by Democratic candidates for the Ohio House other than Minority Leader Emilia Sykes. Weinstein’s nearly $73,000 take brings his cash balance heading into 2020 to $76,000 leaving him well-positioned in what is likely to be a bruising reelection fight. Weinstein was among the fiercest opponents of House Bill 6, a bailout of nuclear power plants that also signficiantly eroded Ohio’s investment in renewable and clean sources of energy, and is among the top targets for attacks by First Energy and their allies. Weinstein’s opponent, Beth Bigham, has not yet filed a fundraising report, missing the statutory deadline.

Jessica Miranda – House District 28 – Like Weinstein, Jessica won a narrow victory in 2018, and has followed that up with strong fundraising in the second half of 2019. Miranda’s $65,000 in contributions for the six month period that ended December 31 represents well over half of what she was able to raise in the entire year leading up to her 2018 victory. She enters 2020 with $52,172 on hand and she’ll need it. In November, Jessica will face Chris Monzel, a Republican with strong name recognition as a former countywide officeholder who reported $75,000 in contributions and enters 2020 with $96,000 in his campaign account, thanks to a carry-forward from a past campaign.

Phil Robinson – House District 6 – Robinson flipped this formerly Republican district in suburban Cuyahoga County to blue in 2018, and will defend his seat with over $54,000 on hand as he begins the year, thanks to raising $60,000 in new contributions in the second half of 2019. Neither of the two Republicans in the March primary reported raising any campaign funds in the period that ended December 31. leaving Robinson in excellent position for reelection in November.

It wasn’t only House incumbents who showed strong fundraising

Alexis Miller – House District 89 – Alexis Miller is a first time-candidate for office, hoping to return District 89 to the Democrats’ column. She faces a new Republican lawmaker in November, recently-appointed State Representative DJ Swearingen. Miller, a veteran political campaign operative, tapped into her strong roots in this district spanning Erie and Ottawa counties, to raise $54,000 and nearly double the fundriasing of her opponent, who raised just $28,000, despite his incumbency advantage. Miller now has nearly $50K on hand compared to $26K for her rival.

Sara Bitter – House District 27 – Sara Bitter ran in a tough Senate district in 2018, and is back in 2020, hoping to flip a much more competitive Hamilton County House district into the blue column. In the filing period, Bitter showed impressive fundraising, raising $53,400 compared to her opponent’s $63,000 and has $28,000 on hand. She’ll need to continue to turn in strong  to have a shot of knocking off the incubent, longtime conservative crusader, Tom Brinkman.

The next filing deadline for candidates is the pre-primary report, due on March 5. Now’s a great time to find a candidate you support and set up a monthly recurring donation to help them pay for the vital work of reaching voters before the election.

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