Indy Biz Journal: Three of Indiana’s congressional challengers raise more than GOP incumbents in latest quarter

Democratic challengers in three of Indiana’s congressional races posted higher fundraising figures in the third quarter than the Republican incumbent in the district.

And the Indiana candidates are not alone—Republican incumbents in 92 U.S. House districts raised less than their Democratic challengers from July 1-Sept. 30, according to an analysis from Politico. That’s compared to only five Democratic House incumbents being out-raised.

The analysis from Politico found that a total of 33 GOP incumbents have less cash on hand than their Democratic challengers, but no Democratic incumbent is behind in available cash.

In Indiana’s 3rd district, Democratic challenger Courtney Tritch raised more money and has more cash left to spend than Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, according to their latest federal campaign finance reports, which were due Monday.

The district includes the northeast corner of the state. Banks took office in 2017.

Tritch raised about $248,000 and has $316,000 cash on hand, while Banks raised $151,000 and has nearly $241,000 available to spend.

In the 2nd district, Democratic challenger Mel Hall raised $1.6 million and has about $665,000 left to spend while Republican U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski raised close to $518,000 and has $780,000 cash on hand. Hall loaned his campaign $1.3 million of the $1.6 million raised.

The district covers the central part of northern Indiana, including South Bend and Elkhart.

The Cook Political Report ranks the 2nd district race as “likely Republican,” but the fact that it’s even on the list of races to watch is noteworthy. And for the first time since taking office, Walorski debated her opponent on live television this year, which political experts say could be a sign that this race is closer than her previous re-election bids.

Walorski won the seat in 2012 after Democrat Joe Donnelly ran for U.S. Senate instead of running for re-election in the House.

In Indiana’s 9th District, Democratic challenger Liz Watson more than tripled the amount of donations that Republican U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth brought in.

The district stretches from south of Indianapolis to the Kentucky border.

Watson raised about $874,000 and has close to $495,000 cash on hand, while Hollingsworth raised $235,000 and has nearly $591,000 cash on hand.

Unlike in 2016, when Hollingsworth first ran for office, he is so far not self-funding the campaign. He did not loan or donate any funding to the campaign this quarter. And this election cycle, he has only donated or loaned the campaign about $60,000. By this time in 2016, he had loaned or given the campaign a total of $2.6 million.

The race isn’t on the Cook Political Report’s watch list, but it’s the only congressional seat in Indiana that FiveThirtyEight doesn’t list as “solid” for the incumbent party. Still, it’s listed as “likely R.”

Watson, Tritch and Hall also out-raised their opponents in the second quarter.

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