FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Ahead of what looks to be an expensive 2024 Republican primary for Indiana’s 3rd Congressional district, State Senator Andy Zay of Huntington took the early lead in the first quarter of 2023.

Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission showed Zay with $205,960.54 raised, $2,648.32 spent and $203,312.22 on hand.

Former Allen County Judge Wendy Davis raised $145,659.99, spent $2,861.28 and had $142,798.71 on hand.

Incumbent Jim Banks announced earlier in 2023 he would instead run for U.S. Senate in 2024.

Political observers expect viable House candidates will need to raise $750,000 or more to wage a media battle for name recognition.

“This will be a very expensive primary race on the Republican side,” said Michael Wolf, Purdue Fort Wayne Political Science Chairman. “When it has come open twice since 2010, it has drawn a large number of candidates and a lot of money.”

None of the other three candidates reported any money raised, although Jon Kenworthy just announced his run last week.

The other candidates are Chandler Likes and Michael Felker.

Former Congressman Marlin Stutzman is expected to enter the race soon.

Freshman State Senator Tyler Johnson of Leo posted on his Facebook page Monday that he was going to consider a run after this year’s legislative session ended in Indianapolis.

Fundraising ability would loom large in any serious candidate’s decision.

“The current contestants for the nomination all have an ability to mobilize voters and with such a long lead time until the nomination, there will be an ability to raise considerable money and court key party leaders and interest groups,” Wolf added. “Given that there aren’t many open races, this will draw considerable interest from national Republicans and from interest groups. So it’s not a surprise to see as many candidates in the field and to see that they are raising so much money so quickly.  It will be interesting to see who starts to receive notable endorsements.”

The Congressional primary is May 7, 2024.