Republican Matt Dolan has raised more than $500,000 — more than half from his father, Cleveland Indians owner Larry Dolan — in his bid to be the first Cuyahoga County executive.
And wealthy businessman Ken Lanci, until recently a political unknown, dug $385,400 out of his own pockets to build his independent campaign and introduce himself to county voters.
Dolan, a former state representative, and Lanci easily are outpacing their rivals in the race for the powerful new post, according to finance reports, compiled through June 30 and filed Friday with the Board of Elections.
Lakewood Mayor Ed FitzGerald was the top fundraiser on the Democratic side, adding more than $82,000 to the $2,500 he already had in his account. He spent $30,000 and had about $55,000 remaining as of June 30. Contributions included $10,000 from the Ohio Democratic Party and more than $18,000 from labor unions.
His chief opponent in the Sept. 7 primary, longtime community leader Terri Hamilton Brown, raised $43,000 and had $14,000 remaining. She loaned herself $10,000. Contributors included Sam Miller, co-chairman of Forest City Enterprises; Bricker & Eckler and KeyBank.
“It’s been hard to raise money because there’s uncertainty about the new office,” said FitzGerald. “People aren’t used to contributing for it.”
In the Republican race, Dolan donated $20,000 of his own money to the campaign, and his uncle, Cablevision Systems Chairman Charles Dolan of New York, gave $150,000. Larry Dolan gave $280,000.
Matt Dolan also received $5,000 from Forest City Co-chairman Al Ratner and gifts from outside Cuyahoga County, including in Chardon, Chesterland and Columbus. Many donations, though, ranged from $25 to $250.
Dolan’s wealthy family, he acknowledged, is an advantage.
“It’s allowed me to put a very strong infrastructure in place,” he said Friday. “It’s positioned me to win in November. But it’s a lot of hard work. It’s not just one check and we’re done.”
Dolan spent $169,000, mainly on staff, printing and postage.
His main primary rival, commercial real estate broker Victor Voinovich, raised $790 and spent none of it, according to his report. He entered the race a week before the June 24 filing deadline.
Tim McCormack, a former Democratic county commissioner who is running as an independent, raised more than $18,000, with $10,000 coming from Republican businessman Ed Crawford. Of the $1,400 he spent, the biggest cost was $376 for T-shirts.
Independent Don Scipione, who runs a Cleveland software company, had $12,350 on hand — $350 in donations and $12,000 in loans from himself and a brother in California.
“I need to raise a half a million dollars to be competitive,” Scipione said, adding that he knew fundraising would be a challenge. “You need mailings, and you need TV… That’s what I’m up against.”
Green Party candidate David Ellison, who has no primary opposition, raised and spent nothing. Democratic candidates James Brown and Dianna Hill and Republican candidate Paul Casey did not file finance forms by Friday’s deadline.
The winners of the partisan primaries will take on Ellison and the independents in a Nov. 2 general election. The full-time executive and 11 part-time county council members will take office in January under provisions of a charter voters approved last fall.
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Article courtesy cleveland.com