Mourdock raises more cash this year but Lugar has lots left to spend

By Lesley Weidenbener
The Statehouse File

INDIANAPOLIS – State Treasurer Richard Mourdock raised more campaign cash than Sen. Richard Lugar in the first quarter of 2012 but the incumbent had substantially more money on hand to spend in the final weeks of the GOP primary race, according to data that will be reported to the Federal Election Commission.

U.S. Senate candidates running in the GOP primary, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.,and Richard Mourdock, right, participate in a debate Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, Pool)

Mourdock raised $875,000 from Jan. 1 through March 31 in his bid to unseat Lugar, who has served in the Senate for 35 years. But the Mourdock campaign had just $430,000 when the period ended.

Mourdock said in a statement that he has been “encouraged and overwhelmed by the vast support from Hoosiers Republicans.”

Lugar meanwhile raised $817,000 for the quarter but had $2.5 million left to spend on advertising, voter calls and other campaigning.

Lugar’s campaign spokesman, Andy Fisher, downplayed Mourdock’s fundraising win for the quarter, saying much of the cash “has come from out of state, with most of the financial support coming through the bundling of money by Club for Growth,” a conservative group that endorsed Mourdock.

“Lugar has a significant funding advantage over Mourdock and strong momentum coming out of last night’s debate, today’s endorsements by the two largest Indiana business groups, and hundreds of Hoosier volunteers working throughout the state,” Fisher said.

But Mourdock’s spokesman, Christopher Conner, said federal rules will prohibit some of Lugar’s money from being spent before the primary.

Mourdock said his contributions came from 5,700 donors, “which speaks volumes about our campaign efforts to add another conservative to the United States Senate.”

Mourdock and Lugar released the numbers a few days before a Sunday deadline to submit them to the Federal Election Commission.

Mourdock’s contributions total for the first quarter of 2012 is almost as high as the $1 million he raised during all of 2011. He ended last year with about $323,000 on hand, according to FEC records.

Lugar raised about $3.3 million in 2011 and had more than $4 million in cash on hand at the beginning of this year.

But the candidates’ money is not the only cash that matters in the race. Several outside groups – including the Club for Growth, National Rifle Association and Indiana Values PAC – are spending significant sums on advertising as well.

Lesley Weidenbener is managing editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

Due to a reporter’s error, this story has been corrected from it’s original version. The original story incorrectly reported Sen. Richard Lugar’s total fundraising for the first quarter 2012. The correct number is $817,000.

The Statehouse File regrets the error.

You can see all our corrections by clicking here.

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