Jul 17, 2023 - Politics

How much Indiana's GOP candidates for governor raised so far in 2023

Illustration of a hand in a suit reaching for an uncle Sam hat filled with money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Brace yourself, Hoosiers. It's going to be a long gubernatorial campaign season.

Driving the news: Campaign finance reports for the first six months of the year are due Monday for statewide candidates, and the three leading GOP contenders for the 2024 race for governor told Axios what they'll be reporting for total raised and cash on hand.

Why it matters: The race is shaping up to be the most expensive gubernatorial primary in state history.

By the numbers: U.S. Sen. Mike Braun led the pack, bringing in $2.2 million and reporting $4.6 million in cash on hand.

  • Businessman Eric Doden raised $1.7 million and has $3.8 million in cash on hand.
  • Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch raised $1.1 million and has $3.8 million in cash on hand.
  • Former attorney general Curtis Hill announced his campaign just last week, outside of the reporting period.

The intrigue: These numbers don't tell us how much was raised from individual donors, versus how much was transferred in from other campaigns, or self-funded.

  • Braun's campaign says he did not personally donate during this period but records show he previously transferred $900,000 from his Senate campaign into his gubernatorial coffers.
  • Doden's dad, Daryle Doden, contributed $600,000 in this fundraising period to his son's campaign.

Of note: While the reporting period covers the first six months of the year, candidates for state offices are not allowed to fundraise while the Indiana General Assembly is in session during a budget year, so the cash reported was primarily raised in May and June.

Between the lines: While it's not surprising that Braun raised the most money with his name recognition and network of national politicians, Doden's $1.7 million solidifies that at least three people have enough money to make this a hotly contested race.

  • Even trailing for the reporting period, Crouch's $3.8 million in cash on hand is enough to be competitive, said Andy Downs, emeritus associate professor of political science at Purdue University Fort Wayne and longtime political analyst.
  • Hill was the top vote-getter in the 2016 election and still has a base of supporters, Downs said, which could make him a serious candidate, despite his relatively late entry into the race.

What they're saying: "As neither a self-funder nor a politician who can transfer monies from one account to another, the $1.11 million the Crouch campaign raised so far this year is both exciting and heartening," said Robert Vane, spokesman for the Crouch campaign.

  • Crouch has been in elected office — first at the local level, then at the state — since 1994, but her campaign said she hasn't transferred any cash from previous races into her bid for governor.

The other side: Former state superintendent Jennifer McCormick has raised $250,000 this year and will report $210,000 in cash on hand.

What we're watching: The big question is when the candidates will start flooding the airwaves and papering mailboxes with campaign ads.

  • Campaign ads are where most of the millions raised by candidates thus far will be spent.

Yes, but: Municipal elections are up first.

  • The gubernatorial election isn't until next year, so ad spending probably won't pick up until after this November.

The bottom line: You're stuck seeing and hearing campaign ads of some sort for the next 16 months.


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