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GOP megadonor gives ‘staggering’ $10,000 to small-town council candidate in Ohio




One of the biggest donors in Ohio politics wrote a $10,000 check to a candidate running for city council in Worthington, a Columbus suburb with a population just below 15,000.

Virginia “Ginni” Ragan, who The Columbus Dispatch identified as the biggest state-level political donor of the last decade, gave $10,000 to Mike Duffey’s Worthington City Council campaign in August, campaign finance reports show.

The donation is a staggering sum in a comparatively small-dollar race for a sleepy post on a city council. Excluding Ragan, the average contribution size for the race is $138, according to an analysis of campaign finance data; all but six of nearly 200 contributions to all candidates have been for sums of less than $1,000.

Duffey, a Republican, previously served on the Worthington council from 2005 to 2010 before serving four terms in the Ohio House of Representatives. He is now the senior vice chancellor at the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

In an email, he confirmed the contribution and noted that he thanked Ragan for it.

“She has supported me for many years now when I have run for various offices,” he said.

Over the past 10 years from October 2011 to today, Ragan has contributed at least $1.24 million to state-level Ohio Republicans, not including contributions from members of her family or to federal candidates and committees, according to a search of state campaign finance records.

The Columbus Dispatch, analyzing a broader swath of records, found Ragan contributed $2.3 million to state-level Ohio Republicans over a 10-year period ending in March.

Ragan sits on the nominating council for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, representing the Ohio Department of Aging. The council provides a shortlist of potential commissioners, from which the governor gets final say. She could not be reached for comment via emailed inquiries through PUCO or the Department of Aging.

This story was republished from the Ohio Capital Journal under a Creative Commons license.

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