Chris Ronayne raised and spent $1.7 million in his quest to become Cuyahoga County executive, the latest campaign filings show.
Those numbers include all the money Ronayne’s campaign brought in and paid out from 2021 through the beginning of December this year. The Democratic county executive-elect filed his most recent unaudited campaign financial disclosure with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections last week.
Overall, Ronayne outraised and outspent his Republican opponent, Lee Weingart. The GOP candidate raised and spent about $1.4 million since launching his campaign in early 2021, filings show. Ronayne won 64 percent of the vote to Weingart’s 36 percent, according to the official results from the board of elections.
This most recent financial filing covers the 20 days leading up to the Nov. 8 election and the month after it – showing how candidates spent their money in the final push to win voters’ attention and support.
There are no limits to how much a person can spend on a county executive candidate. While Ronayne brought in many donations ranging from several dollars to several hundred, he also received four- and five-figure contributions.
Ronayne’s largest single donation in the closing days of the race came from Robert Kanner, the chairman of the holding company Pubco Corp. He gave $40,000 to Ronayne on Oct. 21, the latest filing shows.
Another big donor was a familiar name. Neighbors for Justin Bibb, the Cleveland mayor’s campaign committee, cut a $12,500 check to Ronayne at the end of October. Ronayne and Bibb employ the same law firm as campaign treasurer and also have common political consultants in Burges & Burges Strategists.
Mailers and media dominated Ronayne’s expenditures at the end of the race. The Democrat reported spending $182,000 on media ads. Ronayne’s ads appeared on TV, radio and the web in the weeks leading up to Election Day. He also spent $82,000 to send mailers to voters through the Ohio Democratic Party, which offers candidates a discount on postage.
On its face, Ronayne’s $1.7 million figure exceeds the amount spent by the prior two executives, Armond Budish and Ed FitzGerald, when they first sought the job.
But taking inflation into account, Budish’s campaign retains the raising-and-spending crown. He spent $1.5 million in 2014, the equivalent of $1.9 million in 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator.