INDIANAPOLIS | Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. has established a political action committee to support Democratic candidates running for statewide office and the Indiana General Assembly.
State campaign finance records show "McPAC" was organized Jan. 8. LaPorte attorney Shaw Friedman is chairman of the fund, and Michigan City's Dr. Hassan Dabagia is treasurer. Both are former chairmen of the LaPorte County Democratic Party.
McDermott already has donated $25,000 from his personal campaign account to McPAC. He plans to dole out that initial money in the next few weeks and expects to raise up to $250,000 more for McPAC by the end of the year.
"I'm trying to help good people get elected so I don't have to take some of the crazy legislation that I've had to face over the last couple years," McDermott said. "It's incumbent upon me to get involved in races in other parts of the state."
The mayor, who also is chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, said he will continue to fulfill those duties, but is looking to "make better use of my money."
McDermott, 44, admitted he's considering a future bid for statewide office, but said he's confident he would win a fourth term and become Hammond's longest-serving mayor if he chooses to run for re-election in 2015.
"I'm doing the stuff you need to do if you are taking a look at a statewide run: I've opened up a PAC, I'm meeting with important people like (former) Sen. (Evan) Bayh and Sen. (Joe) Donnelly, like Congressman Pete (Visclosky), Congressman (Andre) Carson -- I'm doing what you have to do," he said. "It's good to have options."
For now, McDermott still is debating how to pronounce the name of his fund. He's leaning toward "mick-pack," as in McDonalds, but said he also likes how "mack-pack" sounds.