Whitney Westerfield

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Whitney Westerfield
Whitney Westerfield.jpeg
Current candidacy
Running for Kentucky Attorney General
Current office
Kentucky State Senate District 3
In office
January 1, 2013 - Present
Term ends
January 1, 2017
Years in position 2
PartyRepublican
Compensation
Base salary$1,788.51/month
Per diem$135.30/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next primaryMay 19, 2015
Next generalNovember 3, 2015
Term limitsN/A
Education
High schoolChristian County (1999)
Bachelor'sUniversity of Kentucky (2003)
J.D.University of Kentucky (2006)
Personal
ProfessionLawyer
CandidateVerification
Whitney Westerfield is a Republican member of the Kentucky State Senate, representing District 3. He was first elected to the chamber in 2012.

Westerfield is a candidate for Kentucky Attorney General in the 2015 elections. He filed his candidacy on January 9, 2015.[1]

Biography

Westerfield earned his J.D. from the University of Kentucky. His professional experience includes running his own private law practice.[2]

Committee assignments

2015 legislative session

At the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, Westerfield served on the following committees:

Kentucky Committee Assignments, 2015
Agriculture
Judiciary
Natural Resources and Energy, Chair
Transportation
Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection
Agriculture
Judiciary, Chair
Natural Resources and Environment
Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection

2013-2014

At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Westerfield served on the following committees:

Kentucky Committee Assignments, 2013
Agriculture
Judiciary, Chair
Natural Resources and Energy
Transportation
Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection, Vice-chair

Issues

Campaign themes

Westerfield's website highlighted the following campaign themes:[2]

Agriculture

  • Excerpt:"Farmers need an elected official that will protect their industry from burdensome regulation and costly taxation – costs that are carried on the shoulders of each of us at the grocery."

Crime

  • Excerpt:" The changes to the penal code have removed much of the disincentive to possess or traffic in controlled substances."

Protection Of Life

  • Excerpt:"Protecting our unborn may not be popular, and may be difficult under certain circumstances, but those children are lives worthy of protection nonetheless."

Gaming

  • Excerpt:"Gambling and gaming is tempting as a possible way out for the very people in the Commonwealth who have the least means to gamble with. The costs to our families and communities is far too great for any revenue the gaming lobby promises it can deliver."

Marriage

  • Excerpt:"God made marriage a sacred union between a man and a woman, and I will never recognize a different standard."

Elections

2015

See also: Kentucky Attorney General election, 2015

Seven state executive offices in Kentucky are up for election in 2015. The general election will be held on November 3, 2015, following a primary election on May 19, 2015. The following sections summarize filed candidates running for each state executive office on the ballot:

Governor/Lieutenant Governor
Incumbents Steve Beshear (D) and Crit Luallen (D) are not running for re-election.

Attorney General
Incumbent Jack Conway (D) is seeking election as governor

Secretary of State

Auditor

Commissioner of Agriculture
Incumbent James Comer, Jr. (R) is seeking election as governor

Treasurer
Incumbent Todd Hollenbach (D) is term-limited


Campaign themes

In considering a potential candidacy in early January, Westerfield critiqued Democratic candidate Andy Beshear by stating, "I refuse to let someone who I don’t believe is qualified for the office, who I don’t believe has the practice experience or policy experience for the office, to have that and a walk...And I frankly think there are plenty of people out there who aren’t prepared to have another Beshear at state level government in Frankfort."[3] Beshear, the son of Gov. Steve Beshear (D), was running unopposed prior to Westerfield's filing.

Race background

Senate debate over outside legal representation

In March 2015, Republican candidate and state Sen. Whitney Westerfield sponsored a bill to increase transparency and limit contracts between the state Department of Justice and law firms representing the state. Westerfield's bill proposed greater clarity for state residents interested in which law firms represent the state and how much money is given to these firms under contingency agreements. Senate Minority Leader Ray Jones (D) asked Westerfield about the size of the department's budget and how often the state uses outside law firms. Westerfield was unable to answer budget questions, stating, "Right now I don't know, I can't recall that line from the budget." In an interview following debate over SB 118, Westerfield noted that, "I think it's crossing a line allowing someone who's got the prosecution power of the entire state to have a pecuniary interest in pushing extra hard to get the penalties and the fees."[4]

Jones unsuccessfully attempted to remove a provision from the bill that limited the amount law firms collect when damages are awarded to the state. According to Jones, this limitation would discourage law firms from assisting the state with highly specialized legal cases and only attract firms with higher rates. Democratic candidate Andy Beshear supported Jones following the debate, indicating that recent cuts in the department's budget make financial flexibility all the more important. Allison Martin, a spokesperson for Attorney General Jack Conway (D), argued that the state has only used outside lawyers on contingency agreements eight times in the past seven years.[4]

Early funding advantage for Beshear

Beshear jumped out to a strong financial advantage before facing any official opposition to replace Jack Conway in 2015. Beshear, the son of Gov. Steve Beshear, reported $1.48 million in contributions through September 30, 2014. These contributions were received at 87 fundraisers and included donations from executives at Philip Morris, Daymar College and Louisville Gas & Electric. By comparison, Conway spent a total of $1.9 million during his election bids in 2007 and 2011.[5]

Beshear's fundraising prowess has drawn criticism due to potential conflicts of interest in the attorney general's office. The Attorney General of Kentucky often has an adversarial role with utilities if they request increases in energy prices. Beshear's campaign received $1,000 donations from three executives at Carespring Health Care Management, which settled state and federal investigations into patient injuries and deaths in 2013. Beshear's experience representing corporate clients at Stites & Harbison and his connections in his father's administration also raised concerns about conflicts of interest.[5]

Beshear issued the following statement in response to a report by the Lexington Herald-Leader on his campaign finances:

Provided I am elected attorney general, I will have only two clients, the commonwealth and its citizens. All decisions will start and end with the law and what is best for Kentucky's families. [6]

Lexington Herald-Leader, (2014), [5]

In considering a potential candidacy in early January, Westerfield criticized Beshear by stating:

I refuse to let someone who I don’t believe is qualified for the office, who I don’t believe has the practice experience or policy experience for the office, to have that and a walk...And I frankly think there are plenty of people out there who aren’t prepared to have another Beshear at state level government in Frankfort. [6]

WEKU, (2015), [7]

Beshear was running unopposed prior to Westerfield filing his candidacy on January 9, 2015.[1]

Campaign finance

Fourth quarter report (2014)
Comprehensive donor information for this election has been collected from the state's campaign finance authority. Based on available campaign finance records, the candidates raised a raised a total of $100,870.97 and spent a total of $62,132.26 during this reporting period. This information was last updated on January 27, 2015.[8]

Campaign Contributions and Expenditures
Candidate Office Beginning balance Contributions Expenditures Ending balance
Andy Beshear Democratic Party Kentucky Attorney General $1,229,392.42 $100,870.97 $62,132.26 $1,268,131.13
Whitney Westerfield Republican Party Kentucky Attorney General $0 $0 $0 $0
Michael T. Hogan Republican Party Kentucky Attorney General $0 $0 $0 $0
Grand Total Raised $100,870.97
Grand Total Spent $62,132.26

2012

See also: Kentucky State Senate elections, 2012

Westerfield won election in the 2012 election for Kentucky State Senate District 3. He ran unopposed in the primary on May 22, 2012, and defeated incumbent Joey Pendleton (D) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[9][10]

Kentucky State Senate, District 3, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngWhitney Westerfield 50.4% 18,457
     Democratic Joey Pendleton Incumbent 49.6% 18,160
Total Votes 36,617

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Westerfield is available dating back to 2012. Based on available campaign finance records, Westerfield raised a total of $107,518 during that time period. This information was last updated on June 7, 2013.[11]

Whitney Westerfield's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Kentucky State Senate, District 3 Won $107,518
Grand Total Raised $107,518

2012

Westerfield won election to the Kentucky State Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Westerfield raised a total of $107,518.
Kentucky State Senate 2012 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Whitney Westerfield's campaign in 2012
Kentucky Republican Party$38,221
Senate Republican Caucus Campaign Cmte$35,072
Ditto, Douglas$1,000
Geary, Mark$1,000
Reinventing A New Direction - Randpac$1,000
Total Raised in 2012$107,518
Source: Follow the Money

Personal

Westerfield has a wife, Amanda.[2]

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References

Political offices
Preceded by
Joey Pendleton (D)
Kentucky StateSenate District 3
2013–present
Succeeded by
NA