Owner of West Chester’s EnterTRAINment Junction and West Chester resident House Speaker John Boehner among top contributors
Jane Prendergast reports:
Cincinnati’s an enduring ATM during presidential campaign years.
Residents in the 15-county metropolitan area have given almost $18 million this election cycle, mostly to Mitt Romney and Republican groups, according to an Enquirer analysis of current campaign donations to individuals and political action committees.
Billionaire Carl H. Lindner is still having significant influence after his death – members of his family and employees of his American Financial Group Inc. gave almost $2 million, the biggest chunk. The family also backed Romney in the 2008 GOP nominating season.
Residents of Indian Hill and Madeira continue to give more than in any other ZIP code in Ohio, contributing $3.6 million so far this year. The Cincinnati metropolitan area, including Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky, ranks a close second to Cleveland this season in terms of most generous Ohio metro areas, giving $13.4 million to candidates alone from the start of 2011 to date. Cleveland and Cincinnati have traded that title back and forth since at least 2000.
The giving, though small relative to places like Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles, elevates Cincinnati’s status on the national stage and helps attract candidates here more for fundraisers and events. The metro area ranks 31st nationally for individual donations, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks donations. But that still makes it tops in Ohio.
The donor lists show some names that have been familiar money sources for years. Names like the Lindners, Richard Farmer, former chairman of Cintas Corp., and Robert Castellini, CEO of the Cincinnati Reds.
But many of this year’s donors aren’t as well known. They’re people like Don Oeters, co-owner of the Watson’s pool and spa company; radar-detector engineer Mike Valentine; the Maas family, owners of JTM Food Group in Harrison; and Stephen Rosedale, owner of CommuniCare, a Blue Ash-based nursing home company.
The Enquirer’s analysis of Federal Elections Commission data, obtained from and categorized by Open Secrets.org, included contributions of $200 or more. That may distort the overall totals and how well Obama has raised money locally, since his campaign focuses a good deal of energy on contributions under $200. Other findings from the analysis include:
• Biggest individual giver – Oeters, also owner of EnterTRAINment Junction in West Chester. He gave $163,000 to FreedomWorks, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s conservative super PAC that advocates for less government and lower taxes. (more…)