October 24, 2023

Indianapolis mayoral candidates report more than $20 million in campaign contributions

Democratic candidate incumbent Mayor Joe Hogsett (left) and Republican candidate Jefferson Shreve. - Courtesy photos

Democratic candidate incumbent Mayor Joe Hogsett (left) and Republican candidate Jefferson Shreve.

Courtesy photos

Candidates for Indianapolis mayor, incumbent Democrat Joe Hogsett and challenger Republican Jefferson Shreve, reported their campaign finances to the Marion County Board of Elections last Friday. Altogether, they have raised a combined total of about $20.7 million this year. 

Shreve’s campaign raised nearly $14.46 million, with the candidate responsible for the bulk of his donations. He gave $13.5 million, or 93 percent, of his own money. His campaign marked $10.5 million of that as candidate loans to the campaign.

In 2022, Shreve sold his company Storage Express for $590 million.

The remaining donations come from individual contributors and organizations. Beyond himself, Shreve’s biggest donor is John C. Lechleiter, former president and CEO of Eli Lilly & Company, who has given $129,000 this year. He also received a donation from REI Real Estate Services, LLC, a development and construction company, for $25,000. 

In a statement, Shreve’s campaign manager Matt Organ said the campaign is “grateful to the thousands of citizens across the city who have joined our cause by contributing their time, resources and ideas to help turn our city around.”

Hogsett raised nearly $6.2 million in total, or less than half of his opponent. Some of his top donors include members of the Simon family, a well-known player in Indianapolis development, sports, and philanthropy. Hogsett received $100,000 from Deborah J. Simon, $100,000 from Cindy Simon Skjodt, and $100,000 from Herbert Simon this year. He also received $50,000 from the United Association of Journeymen-Plumbers, Steamfitters & HVAC Service Technicians. 

In a statement, Hogsett’s campaign said that he surpassed his fundraising totals from the 2019 mayoral election. Campaign manager Blake Hesch described it as “a record fundraising amount from a broad-based coalition of support.” 

In the last mayoral race, Hogsett won more than 71 percent of the vote. He faced challengers Republican James W. Merritt, Jr., who won close to 27 percent of the vote, and Libertarian Douglas John McNaughton, who won 1.5 percent. At this point in the 2019 election, Hogsett reported nearly $5.7 million and Merritt over $782,000. 

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 7. Early voting is ongoing. 

Contact investigative reporter Zak Cassel at zcassel@wfyi.org

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