Working part time on this effort, he created the database, spotted this money-moving trend from the National Institute data, and completed the interviews for the piece in about two weeks.

“I think this story explained a system that few people understood,” Kelley wrote via email. “[H]opefully it connected some dots for voters.

“The political parties draw ‘safe’ districts, so they don’t need to raise much money there to hold the seat, but then they raise the money anyway and funnel it to other areas where it can sway a tight election. Beagle’s election is the perfect example.”

Stayed tuned. Kelley said he intends to expand his Ohio campaign finance database to sniff out more stories.

T.C. Brown covered government and politics in the Ohio Statehouse Bureau for The Plain Dealer of Cleveland for more than 17 years, and he has also written for other local, state and national publications. Brown is a founding partner in Webface, a social media communication company.