Jones leads race for campaign cash in crowded state Senate primary

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Democrat Kristin Jones is outpacing her competitors in terms of overall fundraising in a heated primary battle for the new state Senate seat in Indianapolis.

Jones, a current city-county councilor and the Marion County Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate, has raised more than $115,000 throughout the course of her entire campaign for Senate District 46, according to disclosure reports filed with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office. She had more than $67,000 cash on hand as of April 8.

Andrea Hunley has raised a total of just over $68,000 throughout the campaign. Ashley Eason reported a total of $41,600 and has $22,000 cash on hand. Karla Lopez-Owens is around $19,300 total with $12,000 cash on hand. Perennial candidate Bobby Kern reported one donation for the period: $25 from himself.

During the most recent reporting period of Jan. 1 to April 8, Hunley raised the most money among the five candidates, attracting over $42,000, compared with Jones’ roughly $40,000.

Notable contributions to Jones included $7,000 from Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s campaign committee and a $1,500 donation from Indiana Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor’s committee. Hunley received donations from current state lawmakers as well, including Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis, and Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis. Eason had a $500 donation from former Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger.

Most of Jones’s campaign spending has been focused on printing and postage for mailers, according to the finance report. Eason has dedicated dollars to digital advertising and is also paying $1,000 a month for a campaign headquarters in Irvington. Hunley has poured much of her roughly $30,000 in campaign spending into  Facebook advertising. Lopez-Owens’ campaign cash has gone toward advertising and supplies, including signs and shirts, according to her finance report.

Republican Matt Whetstone has significantly outraised other candidates in the House District 25 primary race in Hendricks and Boone counties, attracting $148,000 in contributions between the Jan. 1 and April 8.

Whetstone was a state lawmaker for a decade before he left in 2007 to become a lobbyist. And he has backing from prominent Republicans and lobbyists, based on his reported contributions. Among large donors who gave $1,000 or more are former House Speaker Brian Bosma’s campaign committee and longtime casino and alcohol lobbyist Jim Purucker.

Behind Whetstone is Kent Abernathy with $42,661 total raised over the entire campaign. Becky Cash has raised $25,703 and Douglas Rapp has $1,700 total.

House District 32, another new district in northern Marion County and Hamilton County that includes Carmel and Fishers, has three Republicans in its primary.

Fred Glynn, of Carmel, leads the pack with a total of $48,461. Suzanne Jaworowski, of Fishers—who dropped out of the crowded state treasurer race to run for this seat—has raised $19,620. Paul Nix, of Fishers, has $2,647, most of which he self-funded.

In Johnson County, incumbent Rep. John Young, R-Franklin, has three primary challengers this year in his House district that was redrawn to include a portion of Shelby County.

Robb Greene, a logistics consultant from Shelbyville, has outraised Young with over $37,000 in contributions to Young’s $19,000. Greene additionally loaned himself $20,000.

Luke Campbell reported $18,545 in campaign contributions, and Scott Strother raised $261.

Congressional races

In the crowded race for the vacant seat in Indiana’s 9th Congressional district, two of the Republican candidates loaned themselves good chunks of cash.

Mike Sodrel, who represented the district for one term in 2005, loaned his campaign $425,000. Sodrel received a just over $38,000 in contributions to his campaign, but with his loan and a $4,420 personal contribution, he has outpaced his opponents in funding in the first quarter.

First-time candidate Stu Barnes-Israel also loaned his campaign $100,000. He generated about $265,000 in campaign contributions and gave himself a $1,000.

Former state Sen. Erin Houchin of Salem has raised more than $377,000.

All the other candidates raised less than $100,000,  with JimBaker at $63,000, Daniel Heiwig at $44,800, Eric Schansberg at $28,000 and J. Michael Davisson at $5,400.

On the Democratic side for the 9th District race, candidate Matt Fyfe collected just over $13,000 while Isak Asare is at just over $12,000 for the first quarter.

In the hotly contested Republican primary for the 1st Congressional district, Blair Milo landed more than $208,000 in campaign contributions, followed by Jennifer-Ruth Green who raised just under $163,000 in the first quarter, but leads with $276,000 total over the course of the campaign.

Incumbent Democratic Rep. Frank J. Mrvan raised $178,000 in the first quarter, with $428,000 cash on hand

In the contested Democratic primary race for the 5th Congressional District, Matt Hall raised $41,000 while Jeannine Lee Lake raised nearly $3,000.

Marion County races

Just two of Indianapolis’ county-wide races are contested in the May 3 primary.

Between Jan. 1 and April 8, Marion County Democratic Party Chair and Recorder Kate Sweeney Bell barely outraised fellow clerk candidate and former Indiana Sen. Billie Breaux, bringing in $50,000 compared with Breaux’s $48,000. But Bell came in with a sizable chunk of cash on hand and spent significantly less, closing out the reporting period about $80,000 ahead of her opponent.

In the race for recorder, non-slated candidate Faith Kimbrough outraised Chief Deputy Recorder Chris Becker, reporting nearly $13,000 to Becker’s $10,000. Becker, however, also entered the race with more cash, has spent slightly less, and ended the reporting period ahead.

And notably—although both candidates are uncontested in the primary—Republican challenger for prosecutor Cyndi Carrasco brought in about $200,000 for the reporting period, about twice as much as Democrat Prosecutor Ryan Mears. But with Mears’ cushion of cash already on hand, he ended the reporting period with $100,000 more in the bank.

IBJ’s Leslie Bonilla Muñiz contributed to this report.

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