Primary costs Fisher plenty in Ohio Senate race

Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) has spent more than $3 million on his Senate primary with Jennifer Brunner, even as he is considered a heavy favorite.

A pre-primary financial report shows Fisher spent nearly $1 million in the first two weeks of April alone -- including $900,000 on a cable TV ad buy -- and is now down to less than $1 million cash on hand for the stretch run of the May 4 primary. Should he make it to the general election, he would face former Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who has $7.6 million in the bank and a clear primary.

Secretary of State Brunner has been meagerly funded from the start of the race and has spent considerably less -- about $800,000. She has not been able to muster any serious media presence, but she has stayed within single digits of Fisher in the polls.

Fisher had $906,000 on hand on April 14, compared to $59,000 for Brunner.

Fisher's campaign has insisted that it is expecting a close race next Tuesday, but if he doesn't easily clear the bar against Brunner, questions will be raised about his general election viability.

His first quarter fundraising number -- $551,000 -- has already been criticized, especially in comparison to the $2.3 million raised by Portman.