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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, June 24, 2018 1:00 am

Tritch, Banks raising campaign cash at home

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Democrat Courtney Tritch has raised 92 percent of her itemized individual campaign contributions from residents of northeast Indiana's 3rd Congressional District – the highest share of in-district donations for any Hoosier running for a U.S. House seat and the fifth-highest rate in the nation.

The lawmaker whom Tritch seeks to replace, first-term Republican Rep. Jim Banks, has the fourth-highest rate – 69 percent – among the 21 Indiana congressional candidates in the November general election, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The lowest share of in-district contributions in the state is 11 percent for Republican Greg Pence in the east-central and southeastern 6th District. Pence is the brother of Vice President Mike Pence.

The Center for Responsive Politics says the average in-district contribution rate for all general-election congressional candidates is 33 percent. The center tracks itemized individual donations, which are contributions of $200 or more. Its findings are based on Federal Election Commission data for the 2017-18 election cycle.

“Whether raising money closer to home indicates a stronger connection to one's constituents is an open question, but the longer a lawmaker is in office, the more likely she is to raise a substantial percentage of campaign funds from outside her district,” the center states on its website,

The center's data show Tritch and Banks had raised about the same amount of itemized individual donations through April 18: $232,253 for her and $229,771 for him.

In northern Indiana's 2nd District, which includes parts of Kosciusko County, third-term Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski had raised more than $653,000 in individual contributions, 65 percent of it from the district. Democratic challenger Mel Hall had collected nearly $384,000, with 55 percent of the money from district residents.

Asylum discussion

“Who Deserves Asylum in the U.S.” is the topic of the next program in the Civil Conversations discussion series in Fort Wayne sponsored by Advancing Voices of Women.

The program will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Trinity English Lutheran Church, 450 W. Washington Blvd. Panelists will be Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards and Lisa Koop, associate director of legal service for the National Immigrant Justice Center.

An announcement for the program notes that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently ruled that domestic abuse and gang violence are not grounds for federal immigration judges to grant asylum to migrants. Sessions discussed his ruling in detail when he spoke June 14 at Parkview Field.

Registration for “Who Deserves Asylum in the U.S.” is available at

GOPers for Joe to back Donnelly

The re-election campaign of Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly announced Monday in Indianapolis the relaunch of Republicans for Joe.

The campaign said the group will “celebrate Joe's work fighting for all Hoosiers regardless of political party.”

Indiana's senior senator is being challenged in the Nov. 6 general election by Republican businessman Mike Braun, a former state lawmaker.

Founding members of Republicans for Joe who participated in a news conference Monday included Roger Peterman, retired transition assistance adviser for the Indiana National Guard; Indianapolis attorney Tom Schneider; Madison County farmer Mike Shuter; and Indianapolis small-business owner Anne Wishard, a leader of Republicans for Donnelly in 2012 when Donnelly, then a member of the U.S. House, was elected to the Senate.

Donnelly is regarded as among the more moderate Democrats in the Senate. Through Thursday, he had voted in line with President Donald Trump's positions on legislation 54.8 percent of the time, the third-highest rate among the 47 Democrats and two independents in the Senate, according to data analysis the website FiveThirtyEight.

Donnelly also is considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election this year, mainly because Trump carried Indiana by 19 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at