Slow Start on Fundraising for Ted Strickland

Has raised 13 percent of amount advisers say he needs to win

Ted Strickland
Ted Strickland / AP
October 16, 2015

Ted Strickland has raised just over 13 percent of the money advisers said he would need to have by November 2016 in order to defeat incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) in the Ohio Senate race.

Strickland’s campaign announced this week that it had raised $970,714 in the third quarter, bringing the total in his campaign account to $1.5 million after expenses. In the first three quarters of 2015, Strickland has raised a net total of $2.7 million for his U.S. Senate ambitions.

That figure is only a fraction of the $20 million his now deputy campaign manager Justin Brennan and political adviser and fundraiser Erik Greathouse said Strickland would need to run a successful campaign.

Brennan, then the finance director for Priorities USA, and Greathouse wrote a memo in late 2014 urging Strickland to run for Senate in which they named the $20 million fundraising projection as one of the "mission-critical projects" of an eventual Strickland campaign.

Neither Brennan nor Greathouse was officially working for Strickland at the time the memo was written.

The 10-page document recommended Strickland raise $2 million in the first quarter of 2015 and $2.5 million in the second. Instead, he fell short with $670,820 and just over $1 million, respectively.

Strickland has only 13 months until the November 2016 general election to reach the $20 million goal, if he is successful in achieving the Democratic nomination.

Strickland, a former governor of Ohio, faces competition in P.G. Sittenfeld, a 31-year-old Cincinnati city councilman who is largely unknown to Ohio voters. Sittenfeld has gone after Strickland for his pro-gun voting record in Congress and his refusal to take a stance on the Keystone XL pipeline, among other issues. He also purchased the first television advertisements of the 2016 Ohio Senate race, which aired in the state during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary debate.

Strickland has thus far refused to debate his competition despite appeals from Sittenfeld.

Sittenfeld came up short in the third quarter when compared to Strickland, raising $229,000 for his campaign. He has $784,000 in the bank after expenses, about half of Strickland’s campaign account value. However, a Super PAC launched by prominent Ohio Democrats supporting Sittenfeld raised $370,000 in its first two weeks.

Portman has eclipsed both Sittenfeld and Strickland in campaign fundraising, netting over $2 million in the third quarter, and with more than $11 million in his campaign account.