Political Notebook

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Raising money was costly for Senate candidate

Down the stretch, Sen.-elect Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., apparently got more bang for his fundraising buck than Republican foe Richard Mourdock did.

In the homestretch of his campaign, Donnelly paid three professional fundraisers about $15,000 combined. He raised $862,000 in campaign contributions in the period, according to a post-election finance report he filed recently with the Federal Election Commission.

In the same time frame, State Treasurer Mourdock raised $1.034 million, but he spent 10 times as much – paying $155,000 to seven professional fundraisers – as Donnelly did. In essence, Mourdock shelled out $140,000 more than Donnelly to gain a $172,000 fundraising advantage in the last weeks of the race.

The reports are for contributions and expenses from Oct. 18 to Nov. 26. Donnelly, currently a member of the U.S. House, beat Mourdock by about 6 percentage points in the Nov. 6 election.

Mourdock’s fundraising expenses for the period included about $49,000 paid to The Gula Graham Group of Washington, D.C., $34,000 to campaign finance director Ashlee Walls of Indianapolis, $32,000 to The Prosper Group of Greenwood and $29,000 to The Rainmakers of Springfield, Va.

Walls recently sent out a solicitation to Mourdock supporters that asks for their help in retiring his campaign debt. In the email, she blamed Mourdock’s loss on “the liberal media” and “media bias by reporters more interested in defeating conservatives than reporting the news.”

The FEC report shows Mourdock’s campaign is $316,000 in debt, much of it owed to Mourdock himself. He lent his campaign $205,000 in 2011, and paid for nearly $26,000 in polling and travel expenses out of his own pocket.

Donnelly’s campaign lists a debt of $126,000. About $19,000 of it is owed to Donnelly, much of it for personal payments he made to fundraising and political consultants.