IN THE NEWS: Dead heat between GOP candidates on fundraising, complaints received

INDIANAPOLIS – The two highest-profile candidates for the Republican Senate nomination have only gotten more aggressive in attacking each otheras they try to differentiate themselves—and people have noticed. The Indy Star’s recap of the second fundraising quarter notes that Congressmen Messer and Rokita are in a dead heat in their fundraising for their Senate campaign, and their clear progress towards a statewide fight has caught the attention of watchdog groups, who have hit them with FEC complaints claiming that their campaigning is in violation of the law until they make their Senate bids official. The complaints will only stoke fears among Republicans that the pair of vitriolic campaigns are more concerned with beating up on each other than actually finding success.

From the Indy Star: Messer, Rokita each claim fundraising prowess in potential US Senate run

WASHINGTON — In their unofficial bids to win the GOP nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer are both claiming bragging rights in the fundraising department.

So who has more money in the bank?

Rokita reported $2.35 million at the end of June. Messer had about $2 million.

And neither is officially running for Senate —– though their fundraising competitiveness and recent public criticisms of each other might suggest otherwise.

The liberal American Democracy Legal Fund recently complained to the Federal Election Commission that Rokita and Messer are acting like Senate candidates and need to make that official to comply with federal rules.

The Capitol Hill publication Roll Call pointed out last month that both have a financial motivation to hold off on declaring their bids. It can be much harder to raise money from political action committees when you’re challenging an incumbent, instead of running for your own re-election. That’s because PACs like to back winners — and most incumbents win.

Messer has raised about $790,000 from PACs, about half of his total take. Rokita has collected nearly $360,000 in PAC contributions, about one-quarter of his total. Donnelly has raised almost $2.5 million from PACs, which is about 44 percent of the nearly $5.6 million he’s raised since being elected to the Senate in 2012. He ended June with nearly $3.7 million in the bank.

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