Democrat Weinzapfel leads AG campaign funding with $609K

Though Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is outpacing his Republican opponents in available money for the 2020 AG nomination race, a would-be Democratic challenger leads the pack with more than $600,000 on hand. Meanwhile, the incumbent AG has yet to secure a key supporter in his bid to become the Republican nominee.

Indiana campaign finance reports filed after the first of the year show that Hill finished 2019 with $183,659.78 in his campaign war chest. But Jonathan Weinzapfel, a Democrat and former mayor of Evansville, is heading into 2020 with $609,310.24.

State Sen. Karen Tallian, the Portage Democrat running against Weinzapfel for the Democratic nod, has $144,159.09 available in her Tallian for Attorney General campaign coffers. Her Senate campaign committee has $7,029.30.

Hill’s first announced GOP challenger, Indianapolis attorney John Westercamp, has $38,646.42 available. The other GOP candidate, Adam Krupp — who will soon resign as Indiana revenue commissioner to run for attorney general — has not yet filed campaign finance reports.

Krupp officially announced his candidacy Jan. 13, and a spokesperson for his campaign said his statement of organization was filed the same day. His first quarter campaign finance report is due April 15.

None of these candidates will face the voters just yet — they first have to convince their fellow Republicans or Democrats to select them as their respective parties’ nominees for the 2020 attorney general race. The parties will choose their AG candidates at their state conventions this summer.

While Weinzapfel has raised about $125,000 from supporters, the bulk of his war chest comes from his own political action committee, which contributed about $487,000 to his AG bid.

In an email to Indiana Lawyer, Weinzapfel said he created the Weinzapfel for Indiana PAC after he decided not to seek a third term as Evansville mayor in 2011. He transferred the PAC’s funds to his AG campaign last month.

Hill’s largest contribution in 2019 came from Rex Sinquefield, a Republican political activist who donated $25,000 to the AG’s reelection campaign.

Hill also has the support of Forrest Lucas, the Indiana businessman and founder of Lucas Oil. Lucas — whose company is the namesake of Lucas Oil Stadium — donated $10,000 to the AG.

The Republican attorney general also received $10,000 from C. Boyden Grey, a Washington Lawyer, lobbyist and former official in the George H.W. Bush administration.

Additionally, two Indiana law firms are supporting Hill — Lewis & Wilkins LLP, which donated $5,000 to his campaign, and Barnes & Thornburg, which donated $2,500.

Westercamp’s campaign has seen significant contributions Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, the law firm where he practices. The firm’s donations total $10,700.

Aside from Bose, Westercamp’s biggest contribution came from Van Smith, a retired Muncie attorney who donated $5,000. He’s also received $2,000 from the Bassler for State Senate committee benefitting Sen. Eric Bassler, a Republican from Washington, Indiana.

Though Hill is leading his GOP challengers in fundraising, he has not yet received some key endorsements from within the party. Notably, Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb on Tuesday declined to say if he would endorse Hill, Westercamp or Krupp for the Republican convention.

Holcomb began calling for Hill’s resignation in 2018, when allegations that the AG drunkenly groped four women at a party in March of that year came to light. The governor said Tuesday his position on Hill’s resignation has not changed but added it was “all premature” to say whether he would back one of Hill’s challengers.

“I’m going to not interfere with a co-equal branch of government as they do their work,” Holcomb said, referencing the ongoing attorney discipline action against Hill.

The Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission has recommended a two-year suspension of Hill’s law license without automatic reinstatement. “I’m just as anxious to see what steps they take before I take my next one.”

Aside from his PAC contributions, Weinzapfel’s largest campaign donation came from Bryan Richards, a Newburgh real estate professional who contributed $20,000.

Weinzapfel also received $15,000 from John Engelbrecht and $10,000 from John Dunn, both of Evansville.

His law firm, Jones Wallace LLC in Evansville, has donated $2,500 to Weinzapfel’s AG campaign. Also, Friends of Ryan Hatfield, benefitting Evansville Democratic Rep. Ryan Hatfield, donated $800.

Like Weinzapfel, Tallian’s AG campaign is being partially financed by her other political endeavors. The Tallian for Senate Election Committee contributed a total of $80,000 to her attorney general bid in 2019.

Aside from her Senate campaign funds, Tallian’s biggest contribution came from the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, which is based in Kansas City and donated $25,000. She also received $15,000 from James McKamey in Portage.

Additionally, Tallian’s fellow Statehouse Democrats are supporting her in the race for the Democratic AG nomination. Rep. Ed DeLaney donated $1,000, while Rep. Sue Errington gave $1,100.

Also, the Visclosky for Congress Committee benefitting retiring Democratic Congressman Pete Visclosky donated $5,000 to Tallian.

— ­The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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