Richardson outraises mayoral opponents

Former University of Cincinnati board chair Rob Richardson Jr. has outraised his mayoral opponents since Jan. 1, raking in $264,512. Big help from labor union chapters across the country and donors outside the city boosted his take.

Rob Richardson, Jr.
Rob Richardson, Jr.

Cincinnati’s three mayoral candidates filed pre-primary campaign finance reports yesterday, giving the public a look at what those candidates will be working with in the final weeks before the May 2 primary and who is supporting their campaigns.

Former University of Cincinnati board chair Rob Richardson Jr. had the largest haul, raking in $264, 512 since the beginning of the year. Mayor John Cranley was close behind, raising $253,600 in that time. Cincinnati City Councilwoman Yvette Simpson raised $85,575.

Mayor Cranley still has a commanding lead in overall fundraising — he has reported $931,813 raised in his last two filings. Add that to money that was already in his campaign war chest, and Cranley just surpassed the previous record for most money raised in a mayoral race. Then-City Councilman David Pepper raised $1.2 million for his mayoral bid in 2005, an amount Cranley edged over just slightly with this filing. Money isn’t everything, of course — Pepper lost that bid to Mark Mallory, who raised significantly less than that.

Cranley raised about $85,000, or 34 percent of his total, from donors with addresses outside Cincinnati, mostly from surrounding suburbs like West Chester and Fort Thomas, Ky. Cranley got some union contributions, including one from the local firefighter's union, as well as some donations from local corporate leaders, including multiple members of the Lindner family, which runs United Dairy Farmers. 

Labor unions turned out big for Richardson, whose father, Rob Richardson Sr., is a major labor leader. Union chapters from Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Lima, Mansfield, Marietta, Marion, Middletown, Newcomerstown, North Kingsville, Steubenville, Toledo, Youngstown, Westerville and Zainesville all gave to his campaign, as did chapters from Lawrenceburg, Lexington and Louisville, Ky., Sacramento and Los Angeles, Calif., Portland, Ore. and other out-of-state chapters. All told, union chapters from across the state and the country contributed more than $81,000 to Richardson’s campaign — 31 percent of his total haul.

About $186,512 or 70 percent, of Richardson’s contributions came from donors listing addresses outside Cincinnati, many also outside the state, according to information in his filing.

Simpson’s donations came mostly from small donors. She raised $18,650, or 22 percent of her total, from donors listing addresses outside Cincinnati.Those were mostly small contributions following an endorsement from national grassroots group Democracy for America, which backed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential bid.

Cranley, who has poured money into two TV ads, has about $350,000 on hand at this point. Richardson, whose campaign is poised to launch its second TV spot, has $96,571. Simpson, who hasn't spent any money on TV ads yet, has $72,000 on hand.

Cincinnati's mayoral primary is May 2. The two candidates receiving the most votes will advance to the November general election.

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