Rokita closes fundraising gap with Weinzapfel in AG race

The fundraising gap between Indiana attorney general candidates Todd Rokita and Jonathan Weinzapfel has closed, with Rokita finishing the third quarter of 2020 with a slight lead over his Democratic challenger. Both candidates are entering the final weeks of the race with a little more than $1 million, much of which has come from interest groups.

Rokita, a former Republican congressman and Indiana secretary of state, reported an ending balance of $1,083,111.93 in Q3. Weinzapfel, a former state representative and mayor of Evansville, ended the quarter with $1,002,742.41.

The Republican candidate – who defeated incumbent Republican AG Curtis Hill for the party’s nomination – reported $1,498,085.18 in contributions on top of a cash balance of $18,277.16, for Q3 contributions totaling $1,516,362.34. His year-to-date contributions total $1,583,390.90.

Weinzapfel raised $798,375.53 in the third quarter, adding to $722,364.91 in cash for a Q3 total of $1,520,740.44 in contributions. Year-to-date, he’s raised $1,767,696.74.

Rokita’s Q3 expenditures came in at $433,250.41. Weinzapfel’s totaled $517,998.03.

A little more than half of Rokita’s Q3 contributions came from the Washington, D.C.-based Republican Attorneys General Association. Campaign finance reports show that RAGA donated a total of $796,000 to Rokita’s general election campaign in the third quarter alone, with contributions already continuing into the fourth quarter.

In other large contributions, the GOP candidate received $10,000 each from several individuals, including Russell Fortune III (Indianapolis), Robert Koch II (Evansville), Anthony Alderson (Bargersville) and Anil Diwan (West Haven, CT). He also received a $20,000 individual contribution from Ronda Hanning of Fort Wayne.

As for businesses and political action committees, Rokita claimed $10,000 from the Cajun PAC in Broussard, LA, and $10,000 each from Pike Plaza Properties LLC in Plainfield and Kelley Automotive Group LLC in Fort Wayne.

For his part, Weinzapfel has seen significant monetary support from labor organizations. He received $10,000 each from the Indiana State Pipe Trades Association PAC Fund (Fort Wayne), Sheet Metal Workers Local 20 Political Expenditure Fund (Indianapolis), Iron Workers Local 395 IPAL (Portage), Northern Indiana Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC (Countryside, IL), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC Voluntary Fund (Washington, D.C.) and DRIVE Committee (Indianapolis).

The IBEW PAC Voluntary Fund gave a second donation of $15,000 to Weinzapfel’s campaign, while the UAW Region 3 Victory Fund (Indianapolis) gave $50,000, the Boilermakers Local 374 State and Local PAC Fund (Hobart) gave $25,000, I-PACE (Indianapolis) gave $30,000 and the Indiana Laborers District Council PAC (Terre Haute) gave $50,000.

The Democratic AG nominee has also received support from the Indiana chapter of the Democratic Attorneys General Association. In-kind donations valued at more than $45,000 went to voter communication and digital voter contact efforts.

In large individual contributions, Weinzapfel received $10,000 each from Ann Stack and Alice Schloss, both of Indianapolis.

With the November election just weeks away, both candidates are using their campaign funds to make significant advertising investments.

Rokita’s expenditure reports show he paid $250,895 to a Washington, D.C. consulting firm for media production and media buy. He’s also devoted nearly $26,000 to yard signs.

For his part, Weinzapfel spent $228,685 on a media buy from a Colorado media company. Additionally, he worked with a Cincinnati company on a $10,000 video shoot.

Though the two AG candidates are now neck-and-neck in terms of available funds, the gap between their resources was considerably wider at the end of Q2.  Then, Weinzapfel had more than $720,000 available to his campaign, while Rokita had just shy of $18,300.

At that point in the race, Rokita had been in the campaign for about two months, choosing not to throw his hat into the ring until Hill’s law license was temporarily suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court. After he won the GOP nomination for attorney general, Rokita told IL he was confident he could close the fundraising gap.

Weinzapfel began his bid for the Democratic nod in 2019, transferring about $487,000 from the Weinzapfel for Indiana PAC to his AG campaign.

Some commentators speculate the race for Indiana attorney general is close enough that the office could turn over to a Democratic leader for the first time since 2001.  All statewide elected offices in Indiana are currently held by Republicans, including the AG’s office, and the GOP has long held a supermajority in both houses of the state Legislature.

Polling firm SurveyUSA, however, predicted as of Oct. 14 that Rokita would keep the office under Republican leadership, earning 48% of the vote compared to Weinzapfel’s 35%. That data was collected through an online survey conducted Oct. 8 through Oct. 13.

But the poll also noted that if Republicans continue the trend of waiting to vote until Election Day, factors such as COVID-19 or the weather could prevent some voters from getting to the polls. That could throw the race to Weinzapfel, as large numbers of Democratic voters are choosing to vote by mail.

Both candidates are reporting notable endorsements, including Rokita’s from the Indiana State Police Alliance.  For Weinzapfel, Indiana Education Secretary Jennifer McCormick, a Republican, crossed party lines to support the Democratic campaign.

Full campaign finance reports are available online at campaignfinance.in.gov.

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