Republican Richard Mourdock had a huge lead over Democrat Joe Donnelly in third-quarter campaign fundraising for their U.S. Senate race.
State Treasurer Mourdock attracted about $2.92 million in contributions, compared with $1.53 million for 2nd District Rep. Donnelly.
Part of the difference came from political action committees. Mourdock pulled in $459,000 from special interests, while Donnelly lured $199,000, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
"I think we're seeing a lot of Republican money come off the sidelines and get into the game, even if it might be reluctantly after the primary," Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report in Washington, said Wednesday.
Mourdock had trouble luring PAC money before he defeated six-term incumbent Richard Lugar in the Republican primary election. The $459,000 that Mourdock collected in July, August and September is almost equal to what he received in the previous 1 1/2 years.
Donnelly has received $1 million in PAC donations to date.
PACs also have boosted Mourdock's coffers by "bundling" individual contributions and sending them to his campaign. Club for Growth, Senate Conservatives Fund, ActRight and Norpac, which advocates for strong U.S.-Israeli relations, together funneled nearly $474,000 in donations to Mourdock in the third quarter, or 19 percent of his $2.45 million in contributions from individuals.
Club for Growth is led by Chris Chocola, whom Donnelly unseated in Congress in 2006.
None of Donnelly's $1.33 million in third-quarter individual contributions came from bundlers, his campaign said Wednesday.
PACs that gave their own money to Donnelly's campaign included those representing medical device maker Medtronic (which has a plant in Warsaw), letter carriers, postal supervisors, air traffic controllers, manufactured housing producers, corn growers, manufacturers and the American Wind Energy Association.
PACs that gave their own money to Mourdock included those representing Warsaw-based medical device maker Zimmer, energy producers, physicians, bakers, bankers, online lenders, insurance agents and the American Quarter Horse Association.
PACs for health insurer Aflac and steelmaker Nucor gave money to both candidates.
To date, Mourdock has raised $6.7 million in contributions and spent $5.7 million for his Senate run. Donnelly has raised nearly $4.2 million and spent almost $3.4 million.
Their spending has lagged that by independent "super" PACs, which are prohibited from coordinating with candidates. Those interests have spent more than $16 million in trying to sway the Indiana primary and general elections, according to tabulations the Center for Responsive Politics and Sunlight Foundation, nonpartisan groups that track political spending.
In another congressional race, Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, raised nearly $110,000 in the third quarter, compared with about $18,000 for Democratic challenger Kevin Boyd. To date, Stutzman has raised $837,000 and spent $705,000, while Boyd has raised $40,500 and spent $28,500.