INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana Democrats are announcing this week who will run
for state attorney general in November.
Longtime state Sen. Karen Tallian and former Evansville Mayor Jonathan
Weinzapfel are vying for the nomination, a selection made by state delegates
rather than primary election voters.
year’s convention Saturday was a virtual one. Convention delegates received
their mailed ballots in May and had to turn them in by Friday, said Indiana
Democratic Party spokesperson Phil Johnson. Votes will be tallied through
Wednesday, with the Democratic nominee announced Thursday.
Democratic candidates have taken their campaigns almost entirely online,
focusing largely on issues like healthcare access and criminal justice
reform. Incumbent Curtis Hill was a motivation to run, too. Tallian noted
Hill’s “personal misbehavior problems,” while Weinzapfel emphasized Hill’s
“ongoing efforts to destroy the Affordable Care Act.” The Republican
attorney general is finishing a monthlong suspension that was ordered by the
state Supreme Court after four women said he groped them during a party.
question remains whether Hill will be replaced on the ticket by one of three
challengers. Republicans won’t decide their nominee until July.
state party conventions are a great time for people to gather and see old
friends, to help build the party platform, to take care of the mechanics of
nominating people for statewide offices and for convention delegates,” said
Robin Winston, former state Democratic chair under Frank O’Bannon.
are the Democratic candidates:
Tallian, 69, has represented portions of northwest Indiana in the state
Senate since 2005. Access to health care, abortion rights and marijuana
reform laws are chief among the policy issues Tallian has championed in the
“When it comes to Curtis Hill, he and I disagree on almost all of this,”
Tallian said. “He’s on the opposite side of all the policy positions I
Hill, a conservative, joined Indiana with 19 other states in 2018 to
challenge the constitutionality of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. He has also
used his office to impose additional abortion restrictions and further
ongoing efforts to strike down abortion-related laws.
what Tallian said sets her apart from her party opponent, Weinzapfel, is
additional support she’s earned from Libertarians and “middle-of-the-road
“I’ve got support from those who don’t buy into all the right-wing stuff,”
she said, “and the support from Republican women who don’t buy into the
whole Curtis Hill sexual harassment chaos.”
she wins the nomination and is elected attorney general come November,
Tallian said her efforts would first target affordable healthcare by
removing Indiana from the pending litigation challenging the Affordable Care
Act. She also plans to focus on consumer protection issues and fighting
Criminal justice reform, too, “is critical right now,” Tallian said. In
addition to reducing the state’s incarceration rates, the state senator said
she wants to be on the front lines of discussions and action plans coming
together to “make sure what happened in Minnesota doesn’t happen again.”
Weinzapfel, 54, said his experience at the statehouse, in local government
and in the private sector makes him “especially equipped” to serve as the
state government’s top lawyer.
state representative from 1999-2003, much of his recent experience in
Evansville is what Weinzapfel said has equipped him with the “strong
leadership qualities” needed by Indiana’s next attorney general: He served
as mayor of the city from 2004-11 and as chancellor of Ivy Tech Community
College in Evansville from 2014-19. He’s a partner at the law firm of Jones
Tallian, Weinzapfel said his campaigning tactics have shifted due to the
coronavirus. He’s made close to 1,000 personal phone calls to delegates and
has “gotten very comfortable with loads of Zoom meetings.”
“When I first got into this race in early December, I thought this was going
to be a campaign focused on Curtis Hill’s ethical transgressions and his
efforts to find the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional,” Weinzapfel said.
“But there’s a new dynamic now, and folks have different concerns - concerns
that aren’t being addressed like they should be.”
first priority if elected in November is, like Tallian, to withdraw Indiana
from “the fight against affordable healthcare.” Weinzapfel said he
additionally hopes to quickly secure “large settlement potential” for
pending litigation against opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma.
accountability for the expenditure of charter school funds and “drastically
increasing transparency” about coronavirus-related cases and deaths taking
place in Indiana nursing homes are also among Weinzapfel’s core platform
ballots already cast for the attorney general position, Democratic delegates
met via Zoom on Saturday. In addition to the attorney general nominee,
delegates this week will make official the party’s selection for lieutenant
governor nominee. Former state Rep. Linda Lawson of Hammond, a retired
police officer, is the only candidate for that position. She will run
alongside the party’s gubernatorial nominee, Dr. Woody Myers.
Indiana Republican State Convention, also being held virtually, will also
follow on Thursday, scheduled to be broadcast from 5:30-7 p.m. by WISH-TV.
Gov. Eric Holcomb and lieutenant governor Suzanne Crouch, seeking second
terms, along with the four candidates seeking the attorney general
nomination are slated to speak.
spotlight is expected to be on Hill, who must convince delegates that he
deserves a second term. Hill’s challengers include Todd Rokita, a former
member of Congress and two-term Indiana secretary of state, Decatur County
Prosecutor Nate Harter and Indianapolis lawyer John Westercamp.