Governor candidates raise $18M in pricey primary run-up

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Candidates for statewide office filed their campaign finance reports for the second half of 2023 on Wednesday, offering more insight into just how expensive the competitive GOP primary in the 2024 Indiana governor’s race is becoming.

Collectively, the gubernatorial candidates from all parties raised almost $18 million in 2023, making it one of the most expensive primary election run-ups in state history.

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun raised nearly $2.1 million in the second half of the year in his race for the Republican nomination for governor, and his campaign reported more than $4 million in cash on hand. He raised more than $4.3 million in 2023.

Excluding self-funded contributions, Braun has raised more money than any of the five candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the May primary.

Brad Chambers, the former Indiana secretary of commerce and president of real estate developer Buckingham Cos., reported raising $8.2 million since July 1, but that number includes a $5 million loan he gave himself at the start of his campaign. He ended 2023 with $2.9 million in cash on hand.

Chambers has spent $5.3 million so far, more than any other candidate, an indication that he’s working to boost his name recognition among a voting population that is more likely to recognize a sitting U.S. senator or lieutenant governor on the May ballot.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch reported more than $3.7 million in cash on hand at the close of the year. The campaign also reported more than $1.2 million since the previous reporting period, which ended in June, and $2.4 million raised in 2023.

Eric Doden, the Fort Wayne businessman and former secretary of commerce, raised $400,000 in the second half of 2023 and $2.2 million for the entire year. He reported just over $1 million cash on hand.

Doden, who entered the race in 2021, has also spent a considerable sum—nearly $4 million in 2023, behind only Chambers.

Former Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill raised just shy of $400,000 in 2023, most of it in the second half of year after he announced his candidacy.

Jennifer McCormick, the former state superintendent of public instruction and presumed Democratic nominee for governor, raised $150,000 in the second half of the year, bringing her year-end total to just shy of $450,000.

Donald Rainwater, the Libertarian candidate, has raised less than $20,000 since entering the race. He reported $13,000 cash on hand.

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