Candidates for Ohio's two open seats spent big bucks, reports show

By MALIA RULON, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Winners and losers for Ohio's two open congressional seats spent big bucks in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 5 general election, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

Rep.-elect Tim Ryan (pictured, right) spent nearly $112,000 in the last few days to reach voters. A hefty portion of his last-minute spending went to buy television commercials and pay for political mailings. He spent a total of $520,224 on his election.

Ryan, a Democrat from Niles, was opposed by state Rep. Ann Womer Benjamin, a Republican from Aurora. Womer Benjamin benefited from television commercials paid for by the Republican National Committee and thousands of dollars in direct contributions from other Republicans.

However, during the last few weeks of the campaign, Womer Benjamin spent 40 percent less money than Ryan. Her postelection report, which includes spending from Oct. 17 to Nov. 25, shows she spent $66,077, mostly on television advertising and media consultants. Womer Benjamin spent $346,906 on her failed bid for Congress.

Ryan garnered 51 percent of the vote to Womer Benjamin's 34 percent. A third candidate in the race, former Rep. James A. Traficant, got 15 percent as an independent candidate.

Traficant, who was expelled from Congress in July, is serving eight years in a Pennsylvania prison for bribery and racketeering charges. From prison, the nine-term former congressman mounted a re-election bid on a shoestring budget with a volunteer staff.

Traficant's campaign finance reports covering the weeks leading up to the election were not available. His last filed report, from Oct. 24, indicated he had about $16,000 to spend.

The reports filed Thursday show campaign donations and spending for the period spanning Oct. 17 to Nov. 25.

Another closely contested race in Ohio was for the 3rd District seat vacated by 12-term Democratic Rep. Tony Hall, who left in September to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for food and agriculture agencies.

In that race, Hall's former chief of staff, Rick Carne, spent $546,147 in his failed bid for the seat. Carne spent $186,060 during the last few weeks before the election, mostly on radio, television and newspaper advertisements.

The winner, Rep.-elect Mike Turner, spent $165,733 in the final weeks of the campaign. Overall, he spent $956,461. Turner, the Republican former mayor of Dayton, beat Carne 59 percent to 41 percent.


Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)