Congressional campaign fundraising down; 2nd District race candidates raise most


By Garrett Day

INDIANAPOLIS – Running for Congress can be expensive – although with few competitive races in Indiana this year, the campaign finance numbers trail those from past years. As the 2014 election season enters its final hours, reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that Hoosier congressional campaigns have raised nearly $13.5 million – $10.6 million by Republican candidates, $2.9 million by Democratic candidates, and just less than $10,000 by other parties’ candidates.

congressional fundraising past 4 yearsThe numbers don’t include fundraising in the campaigns’ final days or spending by outside organizations.

The totals are about 23 percent less than they were just two years ago and about 38 percent less than four years ago during the last midterm election. At that time, a number of competitive races drove up spending.

This year, there are fewer hotly contested races. The Cook Political Reports lists every Indiana district as solidly Republican or solidly Democratic in favor of the incumbent. Still, the state’s most expensive congressional race is probably its most competitive.

In Northern Indiana’s 2nd District, incumbent Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski raised more than $1.9 million. Meanwhile, her opponent, Democrat Joseph Bock, raised $773,940 – making him the only congressional challenger in Indiana to reach six figures this year.

Bock is a Notre Dame professor who has been heavily critical of Congress and says the socially and fiscally conservative Walorski – a former state lawmaker – is part of the problem. “Washington isn’t getting the job done,” Bock says in a television ad. “You deserve a member of Congress who will.”

Walorski has fought back with messages that she has worked with Democrats to protect women in the military who are victims of sexual assault and supported the Violence Against Women Act.

And despite Bock’s battle to unseat Walorski, experts are predicting a victory for the Republican. The Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics calls the race likely Republican and the Cook Political Report calls it solidly Republican.

In Southern Indiana, incumbent Rep. Todd Young, the Republican representing the state’s 9thDistrict, set the high-water mark for fundraising among the state’s congressional candidates. Young has raised more than $2 million, while his Democratic challenger, Bill Bailey, raised just less than $100,000.

All but one of the state’s congressional incumbents raised more than $1 million. The lone exception is Rep. Peter Visclosky in the 1st District, located in the heavily Democratic northwest corner of Indiana. Visclosky, has collected more than $842,000. His challenger, Republican Mark Leyva, has raised a little more than $12,000.

In the northeast corner of Indiana is the 3rd District. The incumbent, Republican Marlin Stutzman, has raised $1.3 million. His challenger, Democrat Justin Kuhnle, has raised $816.

In Indiana’s 4th District, incumbent, Republican Todd Rokita has raised nearly $1.4 million. His challenger, Democrat John Dale, has raised more than $42,000.

In the 5th District, incumbent Rep. Susan Brooks, a Republican, has raised more than $1.6 million. Her challenger, Democrat Shawn Denney, has raised nearly $4,000.

Indiana’s 6th District incumbent Rep. Luke Messer, a Republican, has brought in nearly $1.2 million. His challenger, Democrat Susan Heitzman, has collected just more than $2,500.

In the greater Indianapolis area, which is Indiana’s 7th District, incumbent Rep. Andre Carson, a Democrat, has raised just more than $1 million, while his Republican challenger Catherine Ping has raised less than $5,000.

Indiana’s 8th District incumbent, Republican Larry Bucshon, raised a little more than $1 million. His challenger, Democrat Tom Spangler, raised nearly $25,000.

Garrett Day is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.