AVON, Ind. — Former Congressman Todd Rokita’s 11th-hour entry gives Republicans a four-way race for attorney general for a second straight election.
In 2016, with no incumbent running, Curtis Hill led on all three ballots, gaining the necessary majority on the final ballot. This year, the one-month suspension of Hill’s law license for misconduct at an after-hours party has three Republicans challenging him for the nomination.
Both Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harter, who served on Hill’s transition team, and former Congressman Todd Rokita say they’re running because Hill risks losing the office in November if he’s the nominee.
The accusations of inappropriate touching against Hill have been public for two years, but Harter launched his campaign just three weeks ago, and Rokita jumped in on the next-to-last day to do so. Rokita says he wanted to give Hill “every chance” to let the case play out, but says the discipline handed down by the Supreme Court represents a ruling from a final and impartial authority.
Rokita shrugs off the late start — he says delegates know him from his two terms as secretary of state, while Harter and Zionsville attorney John Westercamp have never run statewide. And he argues his eight years in Washington give him a track record on deregulation, gun rights and limiting abortion. He says he’d work with other attorneys general to look into seeking damages from China for the coronavirus pandemic:
Harter and Westercamp are also emphasizing their anti-abortion and pro-gun rights credentials. Harter responded to Rokita’s entry with a statement noting his record as prosecutor and his grassroots work for the party as county Republican chairman.
Rokita lost a bitter three-way primary two years ago to now-Senator Mike Braun. He says he doesn’t expect any hard feelings from that race to carry over into this one.
All four candidates will address the online Republican convention June 18, with ballots being mailed to delegates four days later. The party will announce the winner July 10.
Ogden Dunes Senator Karen Tallian and former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel are seeking the Democratic nomination, with the winner of the mail-in vote to be announced the day of the Republican convention.