As Attorney General Curtis Hill took the stand in his disciplinary case filed over groping allegations, a lawyer and a lawmaker who hope to replace him appear to be using his infamy as something of a springboard for their own campaigns.
Hill’s fellow Republican and rival for the party’s nomination for AG, Bose McKinney & Evans partner John Westercamp, issued a press release Thursday listing endorsements he says he has collected from 60 Republicans including state lawmakers, county party officials and local government officials. Westercamp says he has visited 77 of the state’s 92 counties since announcing his candidacy in July.
Among others, his endorsements include former Congressman David McIntosh, Rep. Mike Speedy of Indianapolis and Rep. Tim Wesco of Osceola. “I am excited about John’s hard work and engagement with conservative Hoosiers. He’s resonating with Republicans around the state,” Wesco, a Republican, said in the press release.
Meanwhile, the campaign of Democratic Sen. Karen Tallian of Ogden Dunes, who announced her candidacy in August saying, “Curtis Hill has to go,” was still using Hill’s name to bolster support. Earlier this week, the campaign placed an ad in which the Tallian for AG website appeared as a sponsored link at the top of Google search results for “Curtis Hill.” The ad no longer appeared in that position on Thursday, however.
“Our campaign uses ads to grow our online presence as most campaigns do,” a spokesman for Tallian’s campaign said Thursday. “Google ads allow you to include searches that are relevant to the ad, in our case anything that is related to the campaign for Attorney General.”
Despite Hill’s ethical issues, he continues to raise large sums of money from out-of-state power brokers, even though his campaign has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election.
According to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, Hill’s political action committee in the past month received a $25,000 contribution from Missouri businessman and Republican political activist Rex Sinquefield, as well as a $10,000 check from Washington lawyer, lobbyist and former George H.W. Bush administration official C. Boyden Grey.
Hill’s political war chest had a balance of just over $206,000 as of June 30, which does not include contributions since, according to online records. Westercamp’s campaign had a balance of about $41,000 as of June 30, largely on the strength of donations from Bose attorneys.
Tallian announced her candidacy after the last reporting deadline, so no campaign finance information has yet been filed in her run for AG. Her Senate election committee had a balance of just over $61,000 at last report.
Fundraising, however, may not be critical to secure a nomination for attorney general, however, because each party will select its nominee to run in the November 2020 general election at party conventions next spring.