Banks keeps strong fundraising lead in Senate race; 3rd and 5th District candidates stay close

Meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence trails other 2024 presidential candidates in dollars raised

By: - July 18, 2023 6:30 am

Republican frontrunner U.S. Rep. Jim Banks continues to dramatically outraise other contenders for Indiana’s open Senate seat in the November election, raising more than $1 million in the second quarter. 

Four Hoosiers — two Republicans and two Democrats — have so far launched the most serious bids for the U.S. Senate, with each hoping to take Indiana’s seat currently held by Sen. Mike Braun.

Braun’s leaving the position to run for Indiana governor, opening the doors to a growing slate of potential successors.

Banks, along with John Rust, chair of a major egg farm, are so far in the fight for the GOP nomination.

Former state lawmaker and lobbyist Marc Carmichael and Keith Potts, a member of Indianapolis’ City-County Council, are both seeking the Democratic nomination.

A spate of additional candidates from a variety of parties have also registered with the FEC. All candidates will have to gather enough signatures to make the ballot. 

The primary election is scheduled for May 7, 2024. The general election will follow on Nov. 5, 2024. 

Senate fundraising numbers

In Indiana’s Senate race, Banks raised $1.006 million in the second quarter, ending the quarter with $2.5 million cash on hand, according to his Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing. That’s compared to his $1.2 million raised in the first quarter.

Banks, who was first elected to Congress in 2016, has raised close to $2.3 million over the course of the campaign. 

He’s so far kept his debts low, a total of $32,000.

Rust only filed a statement of organization with the FEC on July 1, just after the reporting period ended. 

Carmichael made his candidacy official in June, while Potts announced his Senate run July 6. Neither reported donations.

Dr. Valerie McCray, a psychologist from Indianapolis, was the first person to file to run in Indiana’s 2024 U.S. Senate race, in December 2022. But she has not reported any money raised to the FEC.

Indiana’s 3rd District fundraising numbers

Meanwhile in the Republican primary race for Indiana’s 3rd District, former Allen County Circuit Court Judge Wendy Davis topped fundraising last quarter, raising $285,000 and finishing out with $329,000 on hand.

Former Republican congressman Marlin Stutzman has about $243,000 cash on hand. He raised more than $253,000 last quarter — his first to report. Davis has raised more than $431,000 so far.

State Sen. Andy Zay, R-Huntington, is close behind. He raised $124,000 last quarter and $330,000 over the course of the election cycle. Zay’s latest filing shows he has a little more than $221,000 cash on hand.

All three have made personal loans to their campaigns: $100,000 each from Stutzman and Zay and $73,000 from Davis.

The seat currently held by Banks is up for grabs, given his run for the U.S. Senate seat, instead.

Indiana’s 5th District

Rep. Chuck Goodrich, R-Noblesville, reported raising $1.28 million the most recent quarter, slightly higher than fellow Republican Siddharth Mahant with $1 million.

Both are self-funders, loaning $1 million each to their campaigns.

The 5th District seat north of Indianapolis is open because current Congressman Victoria Spartz announced she would not seek re-election.

Trouble for Pence?

Former Vice President Mike Pence’s presidential campaign and super PAC raised just $3.85 million combined in the second quarter of this year — far below the debut fundraising numbers from other 2024 competitors.

Pence, also a former Indiana governor, entered the 2024 GOP primary in early June with just three weeks until the end of the fundraising quarter. His campaign raised just over $1.1 million in that time, while his Committed to America super PAC raised about $2.6 million, according to his federal filing. 

“I’ve been very humbled to see our support around the country growing since we announced here in Iowa just about a month ago,” Pence said in a statement on the second quarter numbers, which also encouraged potential donors to give a dollar to his campaign. “We’re reaching out to people all across the country who share our vision, our conservative values.”

Despite Pence’s positivity, the numbers raise questions about the former vice president’s overall path to the nomination and his ability to reach the donor threshold to qualify for the first GOP debate.

The Pence campaign did not say how many donors contributed during the second quarter, leaving it uncertain whether he will hit the Republican National Committee’s 40,000-donor threshold needed to qualify for the opening debate in August.

Former President Donald Trump, on the other hand, raised $35 million in the second quarter. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis raised $20 million in the six weeks after his campaign launch.

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Casey Smith
Casey Smith

A lifelong Hoosier, Casey Smith previously reported on the Indiana Legislature for The Associated Press. Internationally, she has reported on water quality across South America. She holds a master’s degree in investigative reporting and narrative science writing from the University of California/Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She previously earned degrees in journalism, anthropology and Spanish from Ball State University, where she now serves as an instructor of journalism.

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