Democratic state Rep. Allison Russo barely outraised Republican Mike Carey in the latest spending period for the 15th Congressional District race, even as Carey capitalized on support from the GOP to boost his campaign.
Russo and Carey, who is backed by former President Donald Trump, will face off in the Nov. 2 special election. The winner will replace former U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, who left Congress to lead the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
Russo received around $550,000 from July to mid-October, which her campaign said is the most any Democrat has raised in a filing period for this district. Roughly $106,000 came from political action committees like Emily’s List and the League of Conservation Voters, as well as some groups based in Ohio. She did not appear to accept donations from corporate PACs.
A joint fundraising agreement between Russo’s campaign and the Ohio Democratic Party brought in another $5,000.
Carey raised over $548,000 during the same time period, including roughly $185,000 in PAC money. He received donations from prominent Republicans like Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, along with a direct contribution from the National Republican Congressional Committee. Carey also got $4,000 from Stivers, who endorsed one of his opponents in the August primary.
Carey relied heavily on donors in other states, although both candidates increased their coffers with money from outside the district.
Carey’s campaign also has roughly $30,000 in debt. He has a joint fundraising agreement with the Ohio GOP and NRCC, but that committee did not report any fundraising or spending.
The race has grown contentious in its final weeks. Carey repeatedly paints Russo as an ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi who wants to overspend government money, and Russo aired multiple television ads attacking Carey’s ties to the House Bill 6 scandal. Russo also criticized Carey for dodging media interviews and declining to participate in debates.
The district leans Republican by 9 points in the Cook Partisan Voter Index, and Trump won the district by 14 percentage points in 2020 — all good news for Carey. Still, the GOP isn’t taking any chances: The NRCC funneled money toward television ads for Carey, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently campaigned with him in the district.
Carey’s campaign has nearly $177,000 in cash for the final stretch of the race, while Russo reported over $180,000.
Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.