Sunday, December 17, 2000

Major parties spend $7.4M down stretch

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — The state Democratic and Republican parties spent $7.4 million on political races, including $1.1 million in advertising through their federal accounts, during the campaign's final days, according to finance reports filed Friday.

        The Republican Party spent $4.3 million and the Democrats $3.1 million during the campaign's final 19 days. The reports filed with Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell's office covered the period from Oct. 19 through Dec. 8.

        Contributors to the Ohio Democratic Party included talk show host and former Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer and Cincinnati lawyer Stanley Chesley, who donated $10,000 apiece, and the Service Employees International Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which each gave $150,000.

        Notable Ohio Republican Party donors included William DeWitt Jr. and Mercer Reynolds III of Cincinnati, who are business partners with close ties to President-elect George W. Bush, and former Cleveland Indians owner Richard Jacobs. All three gave $10,000.

        Both presidential campaigns for president moved their resources from Ohio to other states they figured would be more competitive in the final weeks. Democrat Al Gore made no visits to Ohio after Oct. 4 and his national campaign pulled most of its television advertising. Mr. Bush visited Ohio just once during that period.

        The state parties picked up some of the slack. The Democrats spent $556,000 on advertising through their federal candidate account and the Republicans spent $570,000. The money went for “educational ads” that do not urge a vote for the candidate and thus are exempt from most contribution limits.

        The reports didn't indicate where the money was spent. But according to television contracts with local stations, the bulk was spent on either the presidential race or the central Ohio congressional campaign between Republican Pat Tiberi and Democrat Maryellen O'Shaughnessy.

        Mr. Bush won Ohio by 4 percentage points over Mr. Gore and Mr. Tiberi prevailed by 9 percentage points over Ms. O'Shaughnessy.

        The parties also were generous to the campaigns of the four Ohio Supreme Court candidates. Through in-kind donations of advertising time, the four received a total of $1.1 million.


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