WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republican congressional challenger Max Miller may have ex-President Donald Trump’s endorsement and fundraising help in his effort to unseat U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez. But the second-term incumbent still maintains a large fundraising edge over Miller.
Federal Election Commission reports filed Thursday show that Gonzalez had more than twice as much campaign money as Miller at the end of March.
The reports show that Miller – who benefitted from a Trump-hosted fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida – raised $508,369 during the year’s first quarter, spent $68,814 and had $438,554 in the bank on March 31. Miller, of Rocky River, is a former aide in Trump’s White House and a grandson of the late Forest City Enterprises co-chair Sam Miller. He announced his campaign in February, claiming that Gonzalez betrayed his constituents by voting to impeach Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Gonzalez’s reports show he raised $616,524 in the year’s first quarter, spent $153,512 and had $1,027,947 in the bank at the end of March. A campaign spokesman for Gonzalez said it was the most money the incumbent had ever raised in a single quarter. His revenue included money from an online fundraiser hosted by former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, whose new book denounces Trump for causing the riot. The spokesman declined to say how much of the money came from the Boehner fundraiser.
Gonzalez’s donations include $10,000 from a political action committee associated with House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and donations from most of the other House of Representatives Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. The “Cowboy PAC” affiliated with Wyoming’s Liz Cheney gave him $5,000, the Republicans in Congress Empowering America PAC associated with South Carolina’s Tom Rice gave him $3,500, and the Salt City PAC associated with New York’s John Katko gave $1,000. U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, who also voted to impeach Trump, personally contributed $2,900 to his campaign. Meijer’s family owns a chain of superstores.
Gonzalez also got $8,700 from members of the family that owns the J.M. Smuckers jam company, $5,800 from Cleveland attorney Dick Pogue, $5,800 from RPM International CEO Frank C. Sullivan, $3,000 from former Cuyahoga County Republican Party chairman Robert Frost, $2,900 from Carnegie Management and Development Co. CEO Rustom R. Khouri and $2,900 from billionaire former hedge fund manager Stephen Mandel.
His campaign spent $64,600 on polling after the vote, $22,000 on political strategy consulting and $16,000 on fundraising consulting.
Miller’s contributors included several Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate seat who attended Trump’s Florida fundraiser for Miller in hopes of securing Trump’s endorsement for their own campaigns. Auto dealer Bernie Moreno and former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken both gave $5,800 to Miller, and several members of Moreno’s family were also listed among his contributors.
Another aspiring Republican candidate to succeed Rob Portman in the Senate – businessman Michael Gibbons – gave $11,600, the report says, which is double the amount that individuals are allowed to contribute to a political campaign in an election cycle. A note at the end of Miller’s report said the campaign is “aware of all contribution limits” and is working to obtain “all required documentation “for any temporarily excessive contributions.”
A political action committee affiliated with a fourth wannabe U.S. Senator – former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel – gave $10,000 to Miller’s campaign,. Other Ohio donors to Miller’s campaign include EnterTRAINment Junction operator Donald Oeters, who gave $2,900, shopping center developer John J. Cafaro, who gave $5,800, and Miller’s parents, who each gave $5,800.
Former Trump White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, who is running for Arkansas governor, gave $250 to Miller’s campaign
The report also shows that Miller made a $50,000 personal loan to his campaign. Most of the $69,517 that he reported spending was for digital marketing and transaction fees.
In other Northeast Ohio congressional contests, Champaign County Republican Rep. Jim Jordan reported that he raised $2,128,768 during the quarter, spent $1,430,232 and had $6,812,348 in the bank on March 31.
A spokesman for a Democrat who has announced he’s running against Jordan, Lima warehouse manager Jeff Sites, said Sites “has now raised more than $420,000 – putting him well above the $407K he raised for the cycle last time around with more than a year left until the primary.” Sites has not yet filed his report.
Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s report said she collected $54,720 in the quarter, spent $53,291.68 and had $773,824 in the bank.
Holmes County Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs raised just $8,736 in the quarter, spent $14,155, and had a $486,155 war chest.