Herald Times: Candidates in 9th raising funds before Tuesday's primary

Democrat Liz Watson raised the most of all candidates in Indiana’s 9th Congressional District race so far in 2018, collecting $215,439.23, according to Federal Election Commission records filed in April.

But incumbent U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, a Republican from Jeffersonville, still leads the candidates in total overall money raised, dating back to Jan. 1, 2017.

Tuesday's contested primary race — both for the Democrats and the Republicans — will set the ballot for the fall election.

“I think the campaign finance reports provide some indications of the geographic and demographic bases of support for the candidates,” Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Fraley said. “Most importantly, they reveal the level of enthusiasm behind the candidates.”

Between Jan. 1 and April 18, Watson received $34,000 from political action committees and $181,439.23 from individuals, according to the latest FEC records.

Watson's total amount raised, dating back to 2017, is $586,420.85. Most of that money — $478,384.59 — came from individual contributions. The remainder includes $85,750 from political action committees and $20,000 she loaned to herself, in addition to other sources of campaign income.

Democrat Dan Canon, a civil rights attorney, is third among candidates in terms of money raised during the first 15 weeks of 2018. Canon raised $123,952.86, with all but $733.85 coming from individual contributions.

Canon's overall total raised is $434,624.49. According to FEC data, most of the money Canon received so far — $423,883.36 — came from individual contributions. He also received $2,544.13 from political action committees and loaned himself $1,500, in addition to other sources of campaign income.

Campaign finance records for the third Democrat running, Robert Chatlos, were not available on the FEC website.

Both Chatlos and Watson are from Bloomington. Canon is from New Albany.

Hollingsworth reports the most money to date at $1,032,378.35. Money from political action committees makes up the bulk of his financial support, totaling $716,563.95.

Between Jan. 1 and April 18, Hollingsworth raised $213,325, according to the FEC, including $178,000 from political action committees.

In addition, Hollingsworth has loaned himself $60,000 to support his campaign.

The money the freshman congressman raised this primary is much less than when he first ran for office in 2016. For the same period in 2016, Hollingsworth raised $620,645.20 as part of a heavily self-funded campaign. However, at the time he was also trying to distinguish himself from a group of five Republicans hoping to win the nomination.

This May, Hollingsworth only has one Republican challenger, James Dean Alspach. Campaign finance records for Alspach were not available on the FEC website.

Monroe County Republican Party Chairman William Ellis said the 9th District race has always been of strong interest locally, especially recently, when it was represented by someone from Bloomington — former U.S. Rep. Todd Young, who now serves in the U.S. Senate.

“Trey has exceeded expectations for us,” Ellis said, although he knows local Democrats will disagree with him.

Fraley said Hollingsworth does not represent local constituents, which has led to grassroots enthusiasm in the Democratic primary to ensure a strong candidate in the fall election.