INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana’s Republican delegates are casting ballots as the time nears to
select who will run for state attorney general in November.
The spotlight is on
incumbent Indiana Attorney Curtis Hill, who must convince delegates that he
deserves a second term despite misconduct allegations.
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. The GOP nominee will face the Democrat candidate -
former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel.
In 2018, Indiana
Gov. Eric Holcomb and other legislative leaders called for Hill to resign
after four women said he groped them during a party. The attorney general
received a monthlong suspension in May, ordered by the state Supreme Court,
as a result. Hill has denied wrongdoing.
Holcomb declined to
endorse any Republican candidate for attorney general. The governor’s
campaign chairman - Kyle Hupfer, who is also head of Indiana’s Republican
Party - however, addressed Hill’s disciplinary action in May: “Hoosiers
would be best served by having a new Attorney General. I have faith in our
In an interview
with The Associated Press, Hill said it was a statement “that should not
have been made.” The allegations, Hill continued, turned the race into one
of “personal attacks” and the “politics of personal destruction.” Still,
Hill said he’s confident party delegates will judge him on the work he’s
done. If he secures the nomination, he also expects his campaign “to join
hand in hand” with Holcomb’s as November approaches.
“I’m not perfect.
No one is,” Hill said. “I believe that people are encouraged to make sure
that we look at a person’s record of what they’ve done, of what their
service has been, will they do, what they say they will do, and move
Hill served as
Elkhart County prosecutor for 14 years before being elected attorney general
in 2016. His experience, Hill contends, has helped him secure “a solid
reputation of performance that, realistically, none of my opponents can
challenge.” The incumbent champions his work on pro-life and religious
freedom issues, as well as challenging the Affordable Care Act, during his
tenure as attorney general, promising to keep those efforts alive if
highest-profile opponent, argues that Hill has a history of “bad judgment,
bad choices and not taking responsibilities,” marring him from being
Indiana’s top lawyer. He wouldn’t run against the incumbent, Rokita said, if
he didn’t think Hill was putting himself above the office, the state and the
“There’s so much
distraction and controversy because of the situation he has embroiled
himself in. You have to point out the issue to these delegates,” Rokita
said. “When you’re running against an incumbent, fatally flawed politically
like Curtis is, we have to show there’s a huge problem. If he’s the nominee,
you’re going to get a liberal Democrat as your attorney general in
Entering the race
in late May, Rokita - who won statewide elections as secretary of state in
2002 and 2006 before he held a central Indiana congressional seat for eight
years - is looking to make a political comeback after running unsuccessfully
for governor and U.S. Senate. Known as a contentious conservative, he said
he’s challenging Hill’s reelection bid to restore professionalism in the
office and to ensure a Republican wins the seat.
While aligned with
the other candidates on most issues, Rokita said it’s his experience winning
two other statewide races that sets him apart, as well as “a solid history”
of defending the Second Amendment and religious freedom.
Westercamp said his
goal isn’t to emphasize his challengers, while Harter said his strategy has
been to focus on his own strengths.
conservative credentials, Westercamp is an attorney at Bose McKinney & Evans
in Indianapolis. This is his first bid for public office. Defending
constitutional liberties, fighting government overreach and ensuring the
attorney general has adequately trained lawyers and transparent finances
will be key issues, Westercamp said.
“We need to be sure
the office is ready for every legal challenge,” he said. “I’ve been
campaigning a lot longer than the other candidates and have been very
consistent that I’m running for the particular purpose of making the office
Harter is in his
second term as Decatur County prosecutor, also serving as county party
chairman and vice-chair for the 6th Congressional District. He said he would
ensure pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-limited government matters are
advanced, in addition to a focus on “restoring” internal office functions
“I think it’s
important we nominate someone who has experience practicing law and running
an office of lawyers who go to court, and that’s something I’ve gotten,”
Harter said. “This race hinges on the idea that we need to nominate someone
who is conservative, who comes from the grassroots and understands the party
and conservative values across the state. I’m that person - someone who gets
things done - and I’m also someone who can actually win with voters in
representative from 1999-2003, much of Democratic candidate Weinzapfel’s
recent experience comes from time spent in Evansville: He served as mayor of
the city from 2004-11 and was chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College in
Evansville from 2014-19. He’s a partner at the law firm of Jones Wallace.
Access to health
care, settling ongoing litigation against opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma,
accountability for charter school funding and increased transparency around
nursing homes are among Weinzapfel’s priorities.
Because of the
coronavirus pandemic, the Republican convention was held virtually June 18.
State delegates - responsible for deciding the attorney general nominee for
the party - now have until July 9 to return their ballots. After votes are
tallied on July 10, the winner is expected to be announced the same day.