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Thursday, October 19, 2017 1:00 am

Congressional rivals report contributions

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Democratic congressional hopeful Courtney Tritch raised more money in campaign contributions from individual donors during the third quarter than did freshman Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd.

But Banks' campaign attracted far more donations from political action committees, giving him a nearly $24,000 advantage over Tritch in total contributions during July, August and September.

And for the election cycle to date, Banks has outraised Tritch by a wide margin. He has pulled in nearly $392,000 in contributions and has about $269,000 in cash. Tritch, who organized her campaign in June, has raised nearly $89,000 and has $70,000 in cash.

Tritch was the only contender for next year's Democratic nomination in northeast Indiana's 3rd District to file a third-quarter campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission. Other announced candidates are Fort Wayne residents David Roach and Tommy Schrader, the party's 2016 nominee.

No Democrat has won election to the U.S. House in the 3rd District since 1992. Tritch is easily the party's best-financed candidate since Tom Hayhurst last ran in 2010.

Tritch, a marketing consultant in Fort Wayne, reported collecting roughly $73,600 in individual contributions during the quarter. Columbia City resident Banks gathered more than $54,300 in the same period.

“As I've traveled around the counties meeting with voters, I can actually feel a palpable excitement about creating positive, pragmatic change in this district,” Tritch said in an email.

“We are so thankful for the hundreds of individual donors within the district who stepped up early on to voice their support and we are looking forward to an even more successful fourth quarter as momentum continues to build.”

Banks, who took office in January, said in an email: “I will focus more on fundraising and the election next year. This year I'm focused on getting off to a good start representing the district and our conservative values. ... Overall we are in a great fundraising position with over a quarter of a million dollars cash on hand, an almost four to one advantage over any of the three announced Democrat candidates.”

Banks' third-quarter individual donors included Fort Wayne City Councilman John Crawford; Roanoke resident Shep Moyle, president of Shindigz party supplies; Berne resident Roger Muselman, chairman of media and technology company DRG Holdings; and Robert Grand, managing partner of Indianapolis law firm Barnes & Thornburg.

Banks' campaign reported receiving $45,750 in contributions from political committees including PACs during the quarter. Donors included PACs for AT&T, Duke Energy, Exxon Mobil, Johnson & Johnson and Wal-Mart Stores.

Tritch's individual donors included Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and his brother, Fort Wayne industrialist Jerome Henry; former 3rd District representative Jill Long Thompson of Argos; and former state senator Larry Macklin of Decatur.

Her campaign reported receiving $2,600 in political committee contributions during the quarter. Her lone PAC contribution was for $500 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

In all, Banks raised about $100,100 in the quarter, and Tritch raised about $76,500.