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Bibb leads Kelley in fundraising ahead of Nov. 2 Cleveland mayoral vote

 Justin Bibb has outraised Kevin Kelley in the 2021 calendar year, according to unaudited disclosures with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
Michaelangelo Photography
Justin Bibb has outraised Kevin Kelley in the 2021 calendar year, according to unaudited disclosures with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

Cleveland mayoral candidate Justin Bibb outraised and outspent his opponent Kevin Kelley in the weeks leading up to and following the Sept. 14 primary, according to new unaudited fundraising disclosures released Thursday by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

Bibb’s campaign reported almost $523,000 in contributions and nearly $429,000 in expenditures between Aug. 26 and Oct. 13. Kelley raised more than $416,000 and spent more than $330,000.

Bibb held a financial edge on Kelley heading into the final weeks of the general election, reporting more than $212,000 on hand to the council president’s $166,000.

Kelley entered the 2021 mayoral race as the financial leader of the pack, reporting $524,000 in the bank at the start of the year.

But as the campaign unfolded, Bibb eclipsed him. Since January, Bibb has raised more than $983,000. Kelley has raised more than $814,000 over that time period. Both have spent more than $1 million since the start of 2021.

Kelley’s latest disclosure includes numerous big checks from labor unions, particularly the building trades. His campaign reported $7,500 maximum contributions from the bricklayers union, Laborers Local 310, the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, among others.

Bibb received $7,500 from the Service Employees International Union District 1199 and $5,000 from the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880.

Both candidates will no doubt continue bringing in and spending money in the final days of the mayor’s race. Bibb’s campaign recently purchased time on television for a 30-second spot, and both candidates have put resources into radio ads.

The candidates are also getting help from independent expenditure groups.

Citizens for Cleveland’s Future, a super PAC formed in early October, is airing a pro-Kelley TV ad featuring Cleveland City Councilmen Blaine Griffin and Kevin Conwell.

Earlier this month, four groups – Conservation Ohio, SEIU 1199, AFSCME Council 8 and Stand Up for Ohio – announced a joint advertising and canvassing effort on behalf of Bibb.

This is the last financial disclosure that voters will see before the Nov. 2 election. Post-election reports are not due to the board of elections until Dec. 10.

Independent spending groups that abide by federal disclosure guidelines will have to report donors and spending until January 2022 at the latest.

Copyright 2021 WCPN. To see more, visit WCPN.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.