Ohio Senate candidate errs with claim about Kasich donation
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Seeking to distance herself from former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jane Timken erroneously claimed on conservative radio that she never donated to his 2016 presidential campaign.
The assertion came in a race where an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, a favorite target of Kasich’s attacks, could be potentially pivotal. The Republican ex-president twice carried Ohio by more than 8 percentage points.
Timken brought up the donation issue while pushing back Friday against a characterization by conservative talk show host Bob Frantz that she was “a huge Kasich fan” and has a “back and forth going there with respect to true conservatives and Republicans In Name Only.”
The woman who ousted Kasich’s hand-selected party chair in 2017 after Trump personally intervened to back the takeover rushed to squelch the suggestion, saying of Kasich, “I never donated (to) or supported his presidential campaign.”
Campaign finance reports show Timken, not yet the head of the Ohio Republican Party at the time, contributed the maximum $2,700 to Kasich’s presidential run in February 2016. Her husband, Ward J. “Tim” Timken Jr., then the CEO of TimkenSteel, donated the same amount the same day.
Her campaign told The Associated Press that Timken believed her statement on the radio to be accurate.
Spokesperson Mandi Merritt said both donations came from Tim Timken, but in a check with both the couple’s names on it. She said he intended to spread the donation across both election cycles, primary and general, but the Kasich campaign logged it as two separate donations, one from each Timken.
A Kasich spokesperson couldn’t immediately verify those details Tuesday.
“There is only one candidate in this race that took on and defeated Kasich and his establishment — and that is Jane Timken,” Merritt said in an emailed statement.
Merritt said the Timkens raised and contributed over $5 million to Trump, dwarfing the sum contributed to Kasich.
The Kasich contribution arrived before the former Ohio governor had become something of a pariah within his own rightward-trending party. He steadily blasted Trump during the 2016 primary and then, after dropping his own presidential bid, refused to attend the 2016 Republican National Convention in his own state that nominated Trump.
Kasich appeared at last year’s Democratic National Convention to back then-candidate Joe Biden’s election over Trump’s re-election.
Timken is running in a GOP field that includes former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and Cleveland businesspersons Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno. “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance and several Republican U.S. House members are also considering runs for the seat Republican two-term Sen. Rob Portman decided to retire from.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan is expected to soon announce his bid for the seat, which could be crucial in the battle for control of the Senate.
Associated Press writer Dan Sewell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.