The battle between Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Banks and Democratic challenger Courtney Tritch is shaping up to be the most expensive general election campaign in the history of northeast Indiana’s congressional district.
Through the second quarter, Banks and Tritch had combined to raise more than $1.3 million in contributions, or roughly $300,000 more than at the same point in the 2008 race between Republican Rep. Mark Souder and Democratic challenger Michael Montagano.
Election winner Souder and Montagano ended up raising more than $1.9 million between them. Republicans have continuously represented Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District since Souder was first elected in 1994.
Banks gathered almost $1.7 million during the 2015-16 election cycle, which included a crowded and costly Republican primary. But his Democratic and Libertarian opponents in the 2016 general election each fetched less than $5,000, the threshold for reporting campaign finances to the Federal Election Commission.
In the current election cycle, Columbia City resident Banks has raised more than $835,000 overall and ended June with about $502,000 in the bank, according to the quarterly campaign finance report his team filed with the FEC. Tritch, a Fort Wayne marketing consultant, has raised more than $497,000 in total receipts and had nearly $311,000 in the bank.
Banks and Tritch were neck-and-neck in donations during the second quarter. She collected nearly $169,000, and he brought in nearly $166,000.
All but $4,650 of Tritch’s quarterly funds came from individuals, while donations to Banks were pretty evenly split among individuals and political action committees.
Area contributors who gave Tritch at least $1,000 during the quarter included attorneys David Milne, John Powell, Monica Senk and Joseph Shull, physicians Matt Barb and Andrew Katz, author/illustrator Claire Ewart, architect Michael Gouloff and architecture marketing specialist Anya Gouloff.
Area contributors who gave Banks at least $1,000 during the quarter included business owners Nate Golm, Christopher Hughes, Shelly Williams and Brian Emerick and business executives Shep Moyle, Scott Glaze, Mark Hagerman, Harold Jewett and Thomas Kelley.
PACs that gave money to Banks’ campaign included those representing General Electric, Lincoln National, Raytheon, BAE Systems, Anthem, Eli Lilly, General Motors, Old National Bank and Kroger.
Tritch received donations from the Indiana Democratic Congressional Victory Committee and the PAC representing the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
In northern Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes parts of Kosciusko County, Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski has raised nearly $2.1 million, including more than $418,000 during the second quarter, and she had $1.3 million in cash. Democratic challenger Mel Hall has raised more than $1.4 million, including more than $611,000 in the second quarter, and he had more than $479,000 in cash. Hall has lent his campaign $800,000.