By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The names remain the same atop the list of biggest fund-raisers in Cincinnati politics, but the numbers are a little bigger.
Democrat David Pepper, the top vote-getter in the 2001 campaign, has raised $182,121 to keep his seat, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday.
He's followed by Republican Pat DeWine ($153,748), Democrat John Cranley ($153,086) and Republican Chris Monzel ($129,170), all incumbents.
The top challenger is Republican Barbara W. Trauth, a Hyde Park artist, at $107,590.
The correlation between fundraising prowess and ballot-box performance is high, but it's not an ironclad predictor of votes. Incumbents, Democrats, Charterites and African-American candidates have historically needed less money to get elected.
Indeed, the Charter Committee was crowing about the fund-raising performance of candidate Christopher Smitherman, noting he had raised more money than any African-American challenger ever except for Republican Charlie Winburn in 1993.
Smitherman, at $52,532, is eighth in fund-raising overall.
Since the last campaign finance report July 7, DeWine, Cranley and Democrat David Crowley have gained ground; Monzel, Republican Leslie Ghiz and Reece, the Democratic vice mayor, have slipped in the race.
Late to the fund-raising game is Damon Lynch III, the independent who was certified for the ballot only Friday after a two-week challenge to his residency. Lynch had raised just $500.
At a made-for-television campaign rally Friday, he said the keys to his election would be "visibility, message and money."
"This will be a walking campaign," he said. "We may not have raised as much as the other candidates, but we will work harder than the other candidates."
Among party-endorsed candidates, only Sam Britton, a former Democratic state representative, has not raised any money.
Funds raised for City Council race
Total raised by 2003 Cincinnati City Council candidates, as of Friday's report:
David Pepper (D): $182,121.
Pat DeWine (R): $153,748.
John Cranley (D): $153,086.
Chris Monzel (R): $129,170.
Barbara W. Trauth (R): $107,590.
David C. Crowley (D): $76,325.
Leslie Ghiz (R): $70,760.
Christopher Smitherman (C): $52,532.
Laketa Cole (D): $45,483.
Alicia Reece (D): $45,428.
Peter Witte (R): $44,623.
Jim Tarbell (C): $42,808.
John C. Connelly (R): $30,835.
Tom Jones (R): $13,575.
John F. Schlagetter (C): $13,506.
Nick Spencer (C): $12,204.
Terry Deters (R): $10,295.
Howard Bond (D): $8,405.
Damon Lynch III (I): $500.
Note: Numbers include money raised in 2003, plus money carried forward from previous election cycle.
Source: Hamilton County Board of Elections, campaign treasurers
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