The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Sen. George Voinovich raised $590,965 in the first three months of the year and has $2.7 million for his 2004 re-election campaign, according to campaign finance reports released Tuesday.
Voinovich, R-Ohio, hasn't officially declared whether he will seek a second term in the Senate, but he's raising money faster than he did six years ago during his first congressional campaign.
When former Sen. John Glenn, a Democrat, announced in February 1997 that he would retire, then-Gov. Voinovich was the obvious front runner. By about the same point in his first campaign, he had raised $1.3 million.
"These are good numbers for an incumbent, a little bit higher than before but, of course, the costs of campaigns have gone up," said John Green, director or the University of Akron's Ray C. Bliss Institute for Applied Politics.
At this pace, Voinovich should easily be able to bank about $5 million to $6 million for his race, Green said.
He said the money Voinovich is able to raise is likely to be a big factor in who decides to run against him.
Possible opponents include millionaire talk-show host Jerry Springer, who planned to decide this summer whether to enter the race, and state Sen. Eric Fingerhut, who filed for the race last month.
Springer has said he expects it would cost $20 million to beat Voinovich and as much as $5 million to win the Democratic primary.
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