Hogsett’s $6M in fundraising dwarfed by Shreve’s $13.5M in self-funding

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Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s fundraising wasn’t able to keep pace with Republican challenger Jefferson Shreve’s mostly self-funded $14.5 million campaign war chest, reports filed today show.

But campaign spending on both sides will make this the most expensive mayoral race in Indianapolis history by far.

Hogsett raised nearly $2.6 million this year, bringing his total amount of money available for this election cycle to $6.16 million. Hogsett’s campaign said the money he raised this year was record-setting, exceeding his 2019 campaign.

Shreve’s campaign account was bolstered by his $10.5 million personal loan to his campaign. The successful Republican businessman so far has put a total of  $13.5 million in loans and cash into the campaign since he entered the race in February. He has self-funded 93%, or all but $930,000, of the $14.45 million reported.

Shreve’s wealth stems partially from the company he founded, Storage Express, which he sold last year for $590 million.

It remains to be seen whether his campaign spending can overcome Hogsett’s advantages as an incumbent in Democrat-dominated Indianapolis. Democrats currently hold all county-elected offices in Marion County and enjoy a supermajority on the City-County Council.

The campaign spending dwarfs any previous Indianapolis mayoral campaign and puts it more in the realm of less-competitive races for U.S. Senate.

Last year, incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young raised $14.5 million to handily defeat Democrat Tom McDermott, who had raised just $1.1 million. In the competitive 2018 race between Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Braun and Democrat Joe Donnelly, outside donations and Braun’s personal wealth contributed to a hefty total of nearly $40 million raised.

The Shreve campaign ended the reporting period with $3.1 million cash on hand as of Oct. 13. The Hogsett campaign reported $1.5 million. The election is Nov. 7, and early voting currently is underway.

Who donated the most to the campaigns?

Some of Hogsett’s largest donations came from members of the Simon family, which founded Simon Property Group. It owns the largest number of shopping malls in the United States.

His largest came from Deborah Simon, a philanthropist and daughter of Simon Property co-founder Mel Simon. She gave the campaign $100,000.

Hogsett also received $50,000 contributions from Herb Simon, co-founder of Simon Property Group and owner of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, and Cindy Simon Skjodt, sister to Deborah Simon. Rachel Simon, daughter of Herb Simon, contributed $11,000.

Herb Simon also gave $5,000 to Shreve.

Michael J. Browning, founder of Browning Real Estate Partners, also gave the campaign $50,000.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay contributed $25,000 to the Hogsett campaign. Tied at that amount is Vikram Rajadhyaksha, the Ohio-based CEO of Indianapolis-based construction and engineering consultant DLZ Corporation.

Hogsett also received big bucks from political action committees. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC gave $80,000, while three other unions gave $50,000 each.

Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili’s newly-established PAC, the Voice of the People PAC, contributed $30,000 to Hogsett. Osili also gave $15,000 from his council campaign committee.

Aside from himself, Shreve’s biggest donor was John Lechleiter, a former CEO of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. He gave $129,000.

Al Hubbard, a Republican mega-donor and former Bush administration official, gave Shreve $15,000 in cash and $2,688 in in-kind food and beverage donations.

Lorna Mohr, wife of Andy Mohr, gave Shreve $10,000. Andy Mohr is the owner of Andy Mohr Automotive Group.

Danny Huston, owner of carnival ride conglomerate North American Fairs LLC, also gave Shreve $10,000.

Shreve’s campaign also received $25,000 from REI Real Estate Services LLC, $10,000 from Tarbert Properties, and $5,000 from Broad Ripple-based Barratt Holdings LLC.

The Indiana Republican State Committee contributed $11,487 in-kind for postage.

How the campaign cash was spent

In this fundraising period, Shreve spent $9.9 million. About $7.4 million of that went towards media buys through Omaha, Nebraska-based Bullhorn Communications. Shreve also paid the company nearly $300,000 for production and additional expenses for consulting services, travel and signage.

The second-highest expenditure for Shreve was in polling and research. The campaign spent $417,145 on services from Bellwether Research and Public Opinion Strategies.

Shreve’s campaign spent at least $185,466 on mailers and literature. Franklin-based Midwest Communications and Minnesota-based Republican firm The Voyageur Company were the campaign’s chosen vendors.

Hogsett spent nearly $4.5 million. Like Shreve’s, the bulk of Hogsett’s funds went toward advertising.

Hogsett spent $3.1 million on advertising through Denver-based Bluewest Media, an additional $279,079 to produce ads with Putnam Partners, and $288,272 on digital ads through D.C.-based agency DSPolitical.

The campaign also spent $130,500 on research through well-known Democratic consulting firm Global Strategy Group and Point Loma Strategic Research.

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20 thoughts on “Hogsett’s $6M in fundraising dwarfed by Shreve’s $13.5M in self-funding

  1. Shreve hasn’t demonstrated any willingness to do anything but parrot most of Hogsett’s policies while enabling bad land use.

    The guy’s campaign is bankrolled by “Big Bad Land Use”: his own self storage company, a car dealership group, and a carnival ride conglomerate. The guy has no incentive to do anything but ensure that land-use in Indianapolis remains so bad that property taxes can’t pay for infrastructure maintenance.

    All of Shreve’s his proposed policies fall into two categories:

    1.) Policies that enable land-uses that hurt Indianapolis’ budget, but help suburbanites and people whose businesses cost the city a ton to support. Look at a map of any city – Indianapolis or any other – that shows which parts of town generate more tax revenue than they cost the city and which parts of town cost the city more than they generate in tax revenue. The places that are net positive for municipalities are not self storage facilities, parking lots, nor car dealerships.

    2.) Essentially the same policies that Hogsett has or has proposed, but with slightly different wording.

    There are bad land-use donors to Hogsett’s campaign too, but at least Simon – as a company – has started to make much better use of land nationwide AND Hogsett doesn’t come from bad land-use roots.

    1. Interesting take. As Hogsett has had 8 years and basically woke up and figured he better start doing something. We live in a city that has one of the highest per capita murder rates, homicide some rate is down from 80% to 32% while lazy Joe has been in office. The animal shelter is a disaster and the cities post Covid downtown recovery ranks at the bottom of major cites in the US. Jefferson is not parroting Hogsett’s failed policies, he has innovative polices to address the issues where Hogsett has failed. Yes they are similar topics…because the mayor has the matters that are the business of the people. The difference, like the business Jefferson built….the city will be a success under his leadership.

    2. Which is why Jefferson took the time when he launched his campaign to mention the downtown heliport, the business of the people. I mean, when you look at downtown issues, heliport is way more important than people living on the streets or potholes so large you find Smart Cars in the bottom of them.

      Sarcasm aside, two things

      1) If the Shreve administration, in the back of its head, is guided by paying back the people who donate to his campaign to help repay the $10 million dollar loan, how would that benefit “the people”? Are all campaigns like that? Probably.

      2) Shreve’s campaign so far has been, more or less, “I am going to do the same basic things that Joe Hogsett is doing, but I’ll do them smarter and better because I’m a businessman”. That seems like a large leap given that running the government is not like a business in a traditional scenario, nor should it be. Selling off city assets (like Greg Ballard, the last Republican mayor) did was a great short-term idea but a terrible long-term idea. What other “businessman” ideas will hamstring further administrations and furtive citizens if he manages to implement them?

      Shreve telling us he’s going to get into the details and focus on fixing roads more efficiently himself? That’s like a CEO deciding to save money and fire the cleaning staff and spend three hours a day doing it himself. That should be a warning sign right there, and it’s the opposite of what he’s proposed with crime.

      Finally, if Shreve won, he’d probably get poor traction with the City County Council which is likely to stay under Democratic control. I can see the Aaron Freeman’s of the world decide that this is unacceptable and it’s the perfect reason to rewrite UniGov to neuter the CCC. Republicans have done it before with moves like eliminating the at-large CCC seats and proposed doing the same with local police. Why not some plan to replace the CCC with a board that just so happens to have a bunch of people appointed by the State which would just so happen to be local Republicans?

      The same folks who can’t handle running the Marion County Fairgrounds running Indianapolis. It worries me even more than the uninspiring Joe Hogsett.

    3. Patricia, I’m not sure where you’re getting your facts, but the incumbent has worked hard to balance seven straight budgets, five of them passed with bipartisan support…all in the wake of a pandemic. And amidst record numbers of guns on the streets, increase demand for public safety dollars, and a stingy legislature which distributes road funding unfairly. Not many big-city mayors can claim that accomplishment.

      More to do? Sure. But the template is solid, thanks to eight years of good leadership. Post-Covid recovery? How is the mayor responsible for one of the worst public-health state budgets in America?

    1. Shreve is a pretty unimpressive specimen. So indistinguishable from Hogsett that he even pretty much LOOKS like Hogsett. And yes, the fact that so much of his campaign comes out of his own pocket shows profound lack of enthusiasm.

      Yet an uninspiring untried candidate still seems light years more promising than a proven failure. I mean, Goldsmith was pretty much an one-note robot, Peterson played it boringly safe, and Ballard was an odd blend of oafish and quirky. They all seem like Fiorello LaGuardia next to Hogsett. Hudnut would be turning in his grave…except, I suspect, that Hudnut would (much like the late Dick Lugar) have suffered TDS and ultimately lurched over to folks like Hogsett out of anti-populist tribalism.

      So sad to think that the Simons, those mall managers extraordinaire, are donating all this money to a mayor who presides over the sort of lawlessness that legitimizes shoplifting. Truly tribal.

    2. Where to begin? You make it so easy. Homelessness is a critical issue in Indy. Jefferson has spent time looking at the issue and speaking with state commission that paved the way for the low barrier shelter that Hogsett is taking the credit for. See…Hogsett commissioned a study in 2016 and said he would address homelessness. However, his administration made zero progress….so the state got involved…fortunately they brought good people to the process and $20MM. So Jefferson will follow though with the state commission’s recommendations and help the homeless. Four more years of Joe will get the same result…nothing. Another example is the animal shelter. Shreve will do a better job. Joe has talked about a new animal shelter for years…and he took peoples money saying he would build a new one…but what does he have to show for it…nothing! So yes….Shreve will take many projects that Joe has mismanaged and actually help the people (or animals) they should serve! Joe had 8 years and we have more crime, same homeless problem and numerous examples of failure! It is time for a change!

    3. No…actullay wants to be mayor. He is from Indianapolis and wants to give back to the city that helped him become who he is. BTW…he plans to donate his salary to the animal shelter budget.

    4. Patricia – best I can tell, the Indianapolis report came out in 2021. It led to legislation in 2022 and a state low barrier task force that was established afterwards. It was co-chaired by Jeff Bennett, one of Hogsett’s deputy mayors. Their job was to come up with a report for the 2023 session.

      That report led to two Indianapolis Democrats (and one Evansville Republican) introducing a bill, House Bill 1265. Best I can tell, the bill died in the Ways and Means committee, where it was never called for a vote.

      I don’t believe it’s accurate to say they made zero progress. It’s slow progress, yes, but I don’t see anyone at the Statehouse rushing to give Indianapolis money.


  2. Can we all agree that the real issue here is that Hudnut had the same salary that the mayor elected next month will have?

    Why does the Indianapolis mayor make 40% as much as the next highest paid donut city?!?

    1. It’s a little bewildering to think people would run for office for the money. I mean, I understand the aspiration for a merit-driven society, but the meritocracy culture usually must face down a culture (often the same people) who want to do everything possible to keep local government budgets from bloat.

      How many people do YOU know who have said, “Hey, I’m a bit hard up right now; maybe I should run for office.” Do you think that’s why an orange vulgar billionaire did it–because of the money he’d make? There are so many more lucrative ways to make far more money than one would earn even in a big city like Chicago or new York…or heck, even POTUS. And, let’s face it, at least since the corrupt-but-competent Daley dynasty ended, has Chicago attracted top-drawer candidates to run for office? The Mayor’s salary in the Windy City was $216,210 according to one source. How is that translating to skilled leadership?

      I mean, given his net worth, Shreve clearly ISN’T doing it for the $$$. It is relatively common in cities of Indy’s size for the local-boy/girl-made-it-big to run for political office…sometimes legislative, usually executive.

      People pursue political careers because of the power and visibility it confers onto them. Money can give them quite a bit of this power, but there’s a special kind of authority that comes with being a jurisdiction’s chief executive.

    2. Lauren – all the power and connections that come with this position still would not allow me to support my family and pay my mortgage…

      We have structured the mayor position to ONLY setup people who already have wealth to run to try to expand their power.

      Mayor of Indianapolis should be a $200k (still barely top 5 in the state) and this would allow for successful leaders within the city to run for office and not significantly impact their earning potential for 4-12 years…

    3. The mayor of Chicago only making 200k kind of proves Frankie’s point.

      The next governor of Indiana just got a raise to nearly 200k. Feels about right, but I’d argue that being mayor of Indianapolis is just about as big a deal.

      I mean, Rokita makes $175000 a year, and that’s for a guy who loses most of his cases.

      As far as Trump, I figure it started with ego and then he figured out how to make money. If he wasn’t in it for the money, he wouldn’t (small example of many) have charged us those insane rates for the Secret Service to stay at his properties …

    4. ONLY $215K? You do realize that this salary is approximately 3X that of the median household income in the country? Not median income for a person–for a household. If Chicago mayor doesn’t automatically become a 1%-er, he/she certainly becomes a 2 or at most a 3%-er.

      You really have quite a vaunted position of “public servants” don’t you?

      Again, do you think people run for public sector executive positions because of the lucrative pay?

      Furthermore, the determinant of whether a mayor is good or bad doesn’t offer any evidence, like share value does in assessing a corporate exec’s aptitude and performance. The best assessment of job performance is through the voters giving the mayor another term in office. Which means four more years of power. Interestingly, a certain minority percentage of Chicago’s Democrats still thought Lori Lightfoot was doing a bang-up job. And others apparently decided she was just too much of a stale neo-liberal, so Brandon Johnson it is. Mmm-kay.

    5. 215K in Chicago doesn’t go as far as 215k elsewhere in Illinois. But you know that.

      I think you get what you pay for in pretty much all facets of life, and this is no different.

      “do you think people run for public sector executive positions because of the lucrative pay?”

      Money is a part of every equation. I think one reason people run for a lot of them to make connections they can parlay into lucrative lobbying jobs, which I think should be cut way down on with longer cooling off periods. Insider trading, etc.

      But would we have (example) a better attorney general if the position paid better? I think we would.

    6. It is bewildering to think people should take a 50-85% paycut in order to be the mayor of Indianapolis….