In terms of fundraising, the J.D. Vance campaign in the Ohio Senate race is running substantially behind Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan, who’s challenging Vance, as the midterm elections approach.
Polling suggests the race is close. A weighted average from FiveThirtyEight of polling in the Ohio Senate contest had Ryan ahead of Vance by two percent as of Saturday afternoon, although there’s not exactly been a tidal wave of polling. As for the fundraising, The Daily Beast summarizes that “between mid-April and the end of June, the Vance team raised a million dollars, spent more than that, and is a quarter of a million dollars in the hole with just four months until election day.” It sounds as though fundraising for the Vance campaign — not entities associated with it, just the campaign — has always been lackluster, especially in comparison to the competition. Just $38,000 was raised by the Vance campaign in the first quarter of this year. Trump endorsed Vance in April, shortly after that quarter ended.
At the close of June, Vance’s campaign was mired in substantial debt, with some $628,000 in cash on hand — meaning money in the bank — but a whopping $883,000 in debt. That’s what results in debt leading the campaign’s financial reserves by around a quarter of a million dollars. In contrast, Ryan raised $9.1 million in the second quarter of this year, with support from almost 90,000 new donors. Almost all the Ryan campaign’s donations were in amounts of $100 or less. There’s also a leadership PAC and joint fundraising committees raising money for efforts to elect Vance, but these entities’ fortunes indicate there’s still a pretty clear leader in fundraising strength in the Ohio Senate race: Tim Ryan. A joint fundraising committee called “Ohioans for JD” was behind the majority of the campaign’s second-quarter fundraising total, which the committee transferred over — but that committee is in some $200,000 of debt.
Vance’s leadership PAC wasn’t in debt at the close of June, but the money from such an entity can’t actually support a candidate’s own campaign — but it can support other campaigns. There’s a super PAC called “Protect Ohio Values” that’s poured millions of dollars into supporting the Vance campaign, although the two entities aren’t legally allowed to directly coordinate. Peter Thiel, a business partner to Vance, is responsible for most of the money that’s been raised by that super PAC. Since March of last year, $15 million of Thiel’s money has poured into the super PAC.
Meanwhile, Democrats also have campaign advantages in Pennsylvania fundraising, where Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman is running against Mehmet Oz, aka Dr. Oz, who’s Trump’s pick. In the second quarter of this year, Fetterman’s campaign raised $11 million, which the Democrat’s team said was the most ever raised by a Pennsylvania Senate candidate in a single quarter. Oz, who’s a longtime New Jersey resident and even voted there in 2020, funded most of his primary campaign himself. Polling in Pennsylvania also indicates Democrats are in a good position heading into the general election. There are other ongoing high-profile races for U.S. Senate seats in Wisconsin and North Carolina.