By Michael D. Pittman, Staff Writer
BUTLER COUNTY —
The six candidates seeking election to one of Butler County’s three Statehouse collectively raised nearly $290,000 since the start of January.
But more than 90 percent of that money was raised by the two candidates seeking the 52nd Ohio House District.
Incumbent candidate Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., who was appointed to the seat in September, raised the most money among the six candidates with nearly $179,000 followed by his general election opponent, Kathy Wyenandt, of Liberty Twp., who raised nearly $90,000.
“Every race is different. Every candidate is different,” said Wyenandt, a former Butler County Democratic Party Central Committee chair. “I’m just trying to reach people and tell them who I am, and how I would work for them on things they care about.”
Lang and Wyenandt were No. 1 and No. 13, respectively, among 240-plus campaign finance reports filed in advance of the May 8 primary election, and in the top 25 percent among campaign finance reports filed earlier this month.
Raising money is part of politics when running for office, and Wyenandt said it’s not easy especially in a large district but she’s seeing more people engaged in this election than in past years.
“I’m trying to connect with as many people who live here as I can,” she said. “It’s not necessary to match your opponent dollar-for-dollar. But yes, it takes a certain amount of money to run competitively.”
Lang said he’s running “full speed ahead” in his first Statehouse race, and his goal is to raise another $80,000 to $100,000 before November’s general election.
“Raising money is very important,” he said. “One, it shows the support you have from the community, and No. 2 you have to have money to run a campaign.”
Lang said he’d been told the 52nd Ohio House district “is a safe district” for Republicans. That’s something he doesn’t believe. Wyenandt and her family have invested thousands of dollars into her campaign, according to campaign finance reports, and Lang says that signifies she’s “very serious” about her candidacy.
”We’re going to run a very aggressive campaign,” he said.
By contrast, the other four candidates have a small fraction as their counterparts running in the 52nd Ohio House District.
Ohio’s 51st House District candidate Sara Carruthers, a Hamilton Republican, didn’t raise any money since mid-April, but loaned another $70,000 to her initial $180,000 loan. She raised $3,500 since January.
She won her party’s nomination in a three-candidate primary.
Her opponent, Susan Vaughn, of Hamilton, was unopposed in the Democratic primary and raised $665 since mid-April. She raised more than $3,700 from January to April 18.
Despite Carruthers’ $250,000 in loans, heading into the campaign both candidates have similar amounts of cash on hand. Carruthers has nearly $1,500 while Vaughn has nearly $1,200.
In the 53rd Ohio House District race, Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, is at a disadvantage financially to her opponent, Rebecca Howard, of Reily Twp.
Keller and Howard raised just a few hundred dollars since April 18, with Keller raising $645 to Howard’s $245. But Howard out-raised Keller by more than a $10-to-$1 margin. Howard raised $10,210 from January to mid-April while Keller raised $900.
Howard goes into the general election campaign with more than $7,500 in the bank while Keller has more than $1,600.