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Senators raising money years ahead of next elections

It apparently is never too soon for a political candidate to start raising money for his next race.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., has reported the collection of nearly $90,000 in campaign contributions in the last 35 days of 2012.

Donnelly, who won his seat in November, won’t stand for re-election until 2018.

Donnelly’s money total is less than Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., reported raising in the 39 days after his election in 2010 to Indiana’s other Senate seat. Coats received more that $120,000 in contributions, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Donnelly’s predecessor, Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, raised a mere $35 in the last five weeks of 2006. He had been unopposed for re-election to a sixth term that year. Coats’ predecessor, Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, attracted $9,250 in the last 39 days of 2004 after his election to a second term.

Donnelly’s most recent report shows he received about $64,000 from political action committees in the final weeks of last year, with much of that money coming from energy and medical interests. By comparison, Coats received more than $113,000 in PAC donations from a wide variety of business interests in the last weeks of 2010.

In all, Coats has raised more than $501,000 in campaign contributions two years into his six-year term, according to his latest FEC report. He has almost $242,000 in cash on hand. Donnelly reported $94,000 in available cash.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, who next stands for re-election in 2014, collected about $1,200 in campaign contributions in the last weeks of 2012. He has nearly $159,000 in cash on hand.

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