FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — More money doesn’t always equal more votes but newly-released campaign finance reports shed light on two key Republican primary races.

In the battle for the Republican nomination for Allen County Sheriff, Troy Hershberger leads the money race over Mitch McKinney $125,783 to $39,032.

Hershberger is currently the Chief Deputy in the Sheriff’s Department. McKinney is a Deputy Chief with the Fort Wayne Police Department.

Hershberger should be happy with the lead, according to Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue Fort Wayne. McKinney, however, should not be counted out because the total number of voters will be relatively low.

Based on history, Downs anticipated 25,000 votes will be cast in the primary race. With available data, canvassing those likely voters is relatively inexpensive but the effort will require a lot of volunteers.

Hershberger said he is humbled with the outpouring of support. “It’s clear that our message is resonating. I will be ready on day one to lead [the department] and our fine officers in the years ahead.” he said in a statement. 

McKinney remained optimistic “People are not happy with the current status quo of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department. As history has shown, the candidate with the wealthiest friends and connections does not always win.”

The sole Democratic candidate for Sheriff, Fort Wayne Police Captain Kevin Hunter, has $4,321 on hand.

State Senate

The money battle to replace retiring State Senator Dennis Kruse in District 14 is closer and more nuanced.

Businessman and East Allen County Schools board member Ron Turpin raised $185,828 compared to emergency room physician Tyler Johnson’s $157,530.

However, Johnson ended the year with more cash on hand, as Turpin spent $52,661 in 2021 vs. Johnson’s outlay of $18,581.

“Running for office has proven both humbling and exciting,” Dr. Johnson said in a statement. “I grew up in Grabill and it has been humbling and deeply gratifying to see all the support coming in from friends and neighbors in the form of prayer, volunteer interest, and financial support. Alicia and I are very grateful.”

A look under the hood shows both candidates have made sizable contributions to their own campaigns: Turpin donated just over $50,000 to his and Johnson loaned his efforts just over $107,000.

“Very few candidates like the fund raising part of campaigns,” Downs said. “Candidates with the means to give or loan sizeable amounts of money to their campaign may be tempted to do that.”

Downs said self-funding can be seen two very different ways: putting skin in the game or not believing in the campaign.

“It is easy for people to say that large donations from candidates demonstrate the candidate either is rich and out of touch with the common person,” Downs explained. “What ends up mattering is the mix of sources. If a candidate makes a large donation to the campaign, but the campaign also has many donors who gave varying amounts of money, the candidate can make the claim of broad support. Being able to demonstrate broad support is important.”

Johnson’s report listed 16 pages of individual donations; Turpin had 25 pages, a fact he touted in his statement to WANE 15.

“We believe our 200+ donors speaks to the wide range of support we’ve received. Additionally, we’re honored to have VP Mike Pence up in Northeast Indiana to support our campaign. I am excited about what we hope to accomplish for Hoosiers in the district as their state senator,” Turpin said.

No Democratic candidate filed a 2021 financial report for District 14.

The Indiana primary is Tuesday, May 3.