Donnelly raises $5.3M, getting help from top Democrats

January 26, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly’s campaign raised $1.2 million during the last three months of 2017, pushing the total up to $5.3 million, his campaign announced Friday.

The Democrat is considered one of the most vulnerable 2018 incumbents and is a top Republican target. He will face the winner of the Republican primary, which has drawn sitting Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer, as well as Mike Braun, a wealthy former state lawmaker, as candidates.

Powerful Democrats are helping Donnelly out. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is hosting a Houston fundraiser for Donnelly and others on Saturday in Houston, while former Vice President Joe Biden will soon headline an Indianapolis fundraiser.

Donnelly’s campaign says the amount of money raised in a non-election year beat a record set by Republican Sen. Todd Young, who raised $3.5 million in 2015.

But if recent history is any indicator, money isn’t everything. Former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh had roughly $10 million in leftover campaign funds when he launched an unexpected comeback bid in 2016.

He lost to Young by 10 points after getting pummeled for months by attack ads financed by outside groups, questioning his residency in Indiana, his ethics and his lucrative business dealings after leaving the Senate.

Donnelly’s campaign highlights his connection to the state, noting that he visited every county in the state during 2017. Indeed, Donnelly has developed a reputation as a formidable retail politician, popping up at events and in parades across the state.

“Joe Donnelly once again visited all of Indiana’s 92 counties in 2017, and in every one he heard that his message of hard work and Hoosier common sense is paying off,” said campaign manager Peter Hanscom.

The campaigns of Rokita, Messer and Braun did not respond to a request for comment on their fundraising numbers, which have not been publicly posted yet.

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