State Sen. Marlin Stutzman, one of the five Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in Indiana, has come under fire for telling reporters that his first quarter fundraising totals were higher than what appears on his FEC report. Numerous published accounts have Stutzman raising $125,000 in the first three months of 2010 with $50,000 to $70,000 left in cash on hand. But Stutzman’s FEC filing (pdf) shows him raising just $78,260.52 over this time period, with $14,227.21 remaining on hand.
Hoosier Advocate blogger Josh Gillespie expressed concern about the discrepancy, writing, “Maybe Stutzman’s coffers, after a mad dash in fundraising the last couple of days, now represent what he’s been telling everyone he actually had. The question remains, however, why would he wildly inflate his numbers like that?”
Money is an issue in the Indiana GOP primary because none of the candidates have lit the world on fire in terms of fundraising. But former Sen. Dan Coats had done well enough to build a significant lead over the others. Last week, Stutzman picked up major Beltway conservative endorsements in an attempt to boost his viability ahead of the May 4 primary.
Coats is considered the frontrunner, but some Indiana observers believe he could be vulnerable to an upset if either Stutzman or former Rep. John Hostettler could get their act together financially.