SPRINGFIELD – The IL GOP US Senate primary campaign is heating up as voters begin focusing in on which candidate they want to challenge longtime Democrat incumbent Dick Durbin in November 2020.
Stirring up the already bubbling competition before the upcoming March 17th primary, Republican Dr. Tom Tarter's campaign sent out a press release Thursday with an attention-grabbing headline, "Mark Curran's Clients: Murderers, Rapists & Drug Dealers" blasting Curran's private law practice.
- In 2003, Curran represented Rolando Vargas, a 32-year-old man who was arrested for sexual assault and murder. Vargas strangled his then 22-year-old girlfriend with his bare hands in her Libertyville home. Curran asked for the minimum possible sentence of 20 years. Vargas was found guilty and sentenced to 45 years in prison.
- In 2004, Curran represented Gregoiro “Gollo” Castendad who was arrested for intent to deliver cocaine with a street value in excess of $1 million. Undercover investigators from the Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group found nearly 5.5 kilograms of cocaine in Castenada's car and home with intent to distribute. His client received 30 years in prison. Curran said about Castenedad, “It's a shame, he'll go away for a long time."
- In 2005, Curran represented Christopher Hansen, a 29-year-old Lake County man who was arrested for aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping and attempted murder. Hansen attacked an 18-year-old woman while she was jogging in Libertyville Township, Lake County. Hansen had been convicted three previous times for attacks on women. As his attorney, Curran said that the $3 million bond given to his client was “exorbitant” and asked the court for a “more reasonable bond.” Hansen was convicted in 2 hours of jury deliberations and sentenced to life in prison.
Tarter, a cancer surgeon from Springfield, said about Curran's law practice history, “Republicans have a clear choice in this election. While Mark Curran was defending rapists, murderers and drug dealers, I was busy performing cancer surgeries to save lives. Our party cannot afford to nominate Mark Curran, or we risk the Democrats exposing his long history of shady clientele and sinking the candidacies of good Republicans down ballot throughout the state.”
Tarter, Curran and three other Republican candidates are vying in the March 17th GOP primary to be the party's nominee in November to challenge Dick Durbin.