Three rivals for the Republican nomination for an Indiana seat in the U.S. Senate began this year with roughly the same amount of money for their campaigns.
U.S. Rep. Luke Messer started 2018 with slightly more than $2.44 million in cash, U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita had nearly $2.43 million, and former state lawmaker Mike Braun had more than $2.31 million.
Rokita, R-4th, raised about $459,000 during the fourth quarter, and Messer, R-6th, raised roughly $427,000. Braun raised $2.52 million, including $2.35 million he lent his campaign, according to campaign finance reports the candidates filed recently with the Federal Election Commission. Braun owns an auto parts distribution company.
Each of the three candidates hopes to win the chance to challenge Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in the general election. Unopposed for his party's nomination, Donnelly collected $1.1 million in campaign contributions during the fourth quarter and started this year with $5.33 million in cash, the campaign finance reports show.
Donnelly received nearly $331,000 from political action committees and other political committees during the quarter, compared with about $56,000 for Rokita and $37,000 for Messer. Braun received $1,000 from a state lawmaker's campaign committee.
Messer raised more than $31,000 in itemized contributions from 22 donors who live in northeast Indiana.
The FEC requires that individual contributions of at least $200 be itemized.
Messer's itemized campaign donors included Fort Wayne resident Charles Surrack, president of musical equipment seller Sweetwater; Fort Wayne resident Mark Deister, president of Deister Machine; members of the Silveus family of the Silveus Insurance Group, in Warsaw; and Tobias Buck, chief executive officer of Paragon Medical, a medical device manufacturer in Pierceton.
Rokita raised $5,800 from seven itemized contributors in northeast Indiana, including $1,000 from the Todd Rokita Election Committee in Huntington.
Braun received $2,500 from Fort Wayne resident Thomas Kelley, president of Kelley Automotive Group, and $1,000 from Fort Wayne resident Keith Busse, chairman of Steel Dynamics Inc.
Donnelly raised $6,100 from 31 itemized contributors in northeast Indiana.