Luke Kenley, David Long defeat GOP challengers

Two key leaders of the Indiana Senate—including one from Hamilton County—survived primary challenges on Tuesday.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley defeated Scott Willis of Westfield, who criticized Kenley for not doing enough to boost funding for schools and road projects in the fast-growing suburban area north of Indianapolis.

Also, Senate President Pro Tem David Long of Fort Wayne defeated his GOP challenger, John Kessler, who criticized Long’s efforts to expand the state's civil rights laws to add protections for gay Hoosiers. 

Kenley represents Senate District 20, which includes parts of Westfield, Noblesville and Fishers.

Although Willis worked hard, walking the district knocking on doors, he didn’t have the money to mount a significant campaign effort.

According to the most recent campaign finance reports, which detailed fundraising and spending through April 8, Kenley started the year with $253,393 in his campaign account and raised an additional $107,250.

He also has reported receiving an additional $50,500 in donations of $1,000 or more since April 8.

Willis entered the year with $6,224 in his campaign fund and has collected only $11,525 this year, mostly in $250 increments. He also loaned himself about $9,300.

Kessler’s campaign against Long was backed by social conservatives. He directs the Center for Economic Education at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

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