Ohio

Labor Unions Helped Incumbents in Ohio GOP Primaries

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Union bosses helped prop up Republican incumbents in contested Ohio House and Ohio Senate primaries this spring, new campaign finance filings with the secretary of state confirm.

As Media Trackers reported before the May 6 election, the Ohio Republican Party (ORP) spent money to convince voters of its candidates’ conservative principles while ORP candidates received money from some of the state’s most powerful leftist groups.

Unions are consistently the top donors to Ohio Democrats — but when it comes to promoting bigger government and smearing pro-worker reforms, Big Labor is willing to fund sympathetic Republicans.

Frank LaRose, 27th Ohio Senate District

Sen. LaRose received 10 contributions of $2,500 or more during the post-primary reporting period. Of those 10 contributions, 4 came from labor unions.

LaRose received the following union contributions during the latest reporting period, in addition to $11,000 in union contributions he reported before the primary:

  • $5,000 from Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) Local 33
  • $5,000 from Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) District Council of Ohio
  • $3,500 from International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18
  • $2,500 from Ohio Iron Workers Association
  • $1,000 from Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters

While union bosses were filling LaRose’s campaign coffers, ORP and the Republican Senate Campaign Committee were spending an additional $136,689 promoting LaRose and attacking conservative challenger Caleb Davenport.

Sen. LaRose has now reported a total of $28,000 in union contributions this year.

Scott Oelslager, 29th Ohio Senate District

The 2 largest donations Sen. Oelslager received during the post-primary reporting period came from labor unions. Of the 4 contributions Oelslager reported that were $2,500 or greater, 3 came from unions.

Sen. Oelslager received the following donations from labor unions, in addition to the $28,156 unions donated to his campaign during the pre-primary reporting period:

  • $4,000 from LiUNA District Council of Ohio
  • $3,500 from IUOE Local 18
  • $2,500 from Ohio Iron Workers Association
  • $1,000 from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 4, Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE)
  • $1,000 from IN/KY/OH Regional Council of Carpenters
  • $750 from Ohio Nurses Association

Including these contributions, Sen. Oelslager has received a total of $40,906 from labor unions this year.

ORP spent $7,564 on in-kind support for Oelslager — who was challenged by Dennis Harbert for the Republican nomination in the Ohio Senate District 29 race — during the post-primary reporting period.

Kevin Bacon, 3rd Ohio Senate District

Of the 4 contributions of $2,500 or greater Sen. Bacon received during the post-primary reporting period, 3 came from labor unions.

Bacon reported no union contributions during the pre-primary campaign finance period, but has since received:

  • $4,000 from LiUNA District Council of Ohio
  • $3,500 from IUOE Local 18
  • $2,500 from Ohio Iron Workers Association
  • $1,000 from IN/KY/OH Regional Council of Carpenters

During the post-primary period, ORP and the Republican Senate Campaign Committee spent $67,667 on in-kind support to help propel Sen. Bacon past Republican challenger Kevin Solveson.

Anne Gonzales, 19th Ohio House District

The largest contribution to Rep. Gonzales during the post-primary reporting period came from IUOE Local 18.

  • $3,000 from IUOE Local 18
  • $1,000 from Ohio Iron Workers Association
  • $1,000 from LiUNA District Council of Ohio

Gonzales was challenged by Meta Hahn for the Republican nomination in the Ohio House District 19 primary.

Barbara Sears, 47th Ohio House District

The second-largest contribution Rep. Sears reported during the post-primary period came from IUOE Local 18.

  • $3,000 from IUOE Local 18
  • $1,000 from International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 20

Sears was challenged by Scott Allegrini for the Republican nomination in the Ohio House District 47 primary.

Union bosses gave generously to Sen. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) during the post-primary period; SMWIA Local 33, LiUNA District Council of Ohio, IUOE Local 18, and Ohio Iron Workers Association were Manning’s top 4 donors, contributing a combined total of $15,500.

Sen. Manning received $1,000 from IN/KY/OH Regional Council of Carpenters and $250 from LiUNA Local 758, as well.

Sen. Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) also received thousands from labor unions during the latest campaign finance period.

LiUNA District Council of Ohio and IUOE Local 18 were Sen. Beagle’s top donors, giving $4,000 and $3,500, respectively. Ohio Iron Workers Association gave Beagle $2,500, and IN/KY/OH Regional Council of Carpenters gave $1,000.

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