The race for Indiana attorney general has taken another turn with a prominent Republican emerging as a candidate on the last day to file with the party.
Former Congressman Todd Rokita announced Wednesday morning that he’s entering the race to oust embattled Republican incumbent Curtis Hill.
Earlier this month, Rokita suggested he might seek the party’s nomination and described Hill as “very badly wounded” after the Indiana Supreme Court decided to suspend Hill’s law license for 30 days over accusations that he drunkenly groped a state lawmaker and three other women during a party.
Hill has denied doing anything wrong and is seeking reelection despite calls from Gov. Eric Holcomb and other top GOP leaders for his resignation. Hill’s temporary license suspension started Monday.
Rokita said he would be “the people’s attorney” if elected and fight federal government overreach and hold China accountable for its role in the coronavirus pandemic.
“I can bring certainty in uncertain times,” Rokita said.
Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harter and Indianapolis attorney John Westercamp also are challenging Hill for the Republican nomination, which will be decided by state party delegates. Typically, the candidate is selected at the party’s convention, but this year the Indiana Republican Party called off the in-person convention. Speeches will be aired on TV instead and delegates will vote by mail.
Rokita, 50, said he didn’t want to challenge an incumbent from his own party, but the Supreme Court ruling made it clear Hill shouldn’t be in office.
“I waited out of respect,” Rokita said. “I waited out of due process for the law… but that pushed us to this point.”
This won’t be Rokita’s first contested convention race. In 2002, Rokita sought the party’s nomination for secretary of state after working in the office for several years. After three ballots and five hours of voting, he beat then-Vanderburgh County Commissioner Richard Mourdock; Mike Delph, who was an aide to U.S. Rep. Dan Burton at the time; and then-Marion County Coroner John McGoff.
He won the general election that year, becoming the nation’s youngest secretary of state at age 32, and won re-election in 2006. During his time as secretary of state, Rokita became known for his tough enforcement of securities laws and implementation of what was then Indiana’s new voter-identification law, a statute opponents challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I’m the only one in this race that has won twice statewide. I’m tested,” Rokita said. “The others have to promise what they’re going to do in office. I have a record.”
In 2010, Rokita won the race for Indiana’s 4th Congressional District, and he served four terms in Congress. In 2018, he ran for U.S. Senate, but lost in the Republican primary to Jasper businessman Mike Braun.
Last year, after leaving Congress, he took a job as general counsel and vice president of external affairs for Apex Benefits. The Indianapolis-based company helps employers find ways to lower health care costs.
“I was able to be successful in the private sector without being a lobbyist,” Rokita said.
Rokita enters the race with several endorsements, including from Kosciusko County Republican Party Chairman Mike Ragan, LaGrange County Republican Party Chairman Patricia Brown, state Sen. Erin Houchin and Harrison County Prosecutor J. Otto Schalk, and State Director for the Susan B. Anthony List Jodi Smith.
The winner of the GOP race will face an opponent in the fall. State Sen. Karen Tallian of Ogden Dunes and former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel are seeking the Democratic nomination.
21 thoughts on “Former GOP congressman Rokita enters AG race, seeks to oust Hill”
Please will Rokita just go away.
And take Curtis “Elvis” Hill with him!
Hear, hear, to eliminating both of them…
Politics is hard, Rokita stands his ground, not easy in political areas and wish him well and think he is the best candidate for AG.
How can anyone enter the race at this time? I’ve already voted by absentee.
You do not vote for this office in the primary. The candidates for these lesser offices are picked by the delegates to the state conventions for each party.
Interesting, but factual, that this is referred to as a lesser office…
It is amazing the effort Holcomb will go to get rid of someone.
Butt out Rokita!
You’re showing yourself no better than that Swamp Puppet Opportunist Commandant Holcomb.
We have a good Attorney General in Curtis Hill and anyone such as Holcomb who considers one guilty without due process and continues to do so with nothing concrete proven is a danger to our state’s and country’s constitutions!
AG Hill has had due process. The Indiana Supreme Court has spoken. Just because you don’t like the outcome isn’t a reason to say he didn’t get due process.
I’m glad that the delegates at the convention will have an experienced alternative to AG Hill and can make a choice that reflects their values. Stand up, Republicans! Vote your Values.
A strong candidate on the Dem side would be a solution to this problem. Jonathan Weinzapfel is running, has an impressive resume and would be a great AG.
Agreed, Mary. I hope Weinzapfel gets the nomination.
I think the world of Todd Rokita, have talked with him one-on-one on many occasions, and have had his signs in our yard for every election in which he has been a candidate…but I wish he would have stayed out of this one. Curtis Hill is a good man who made the mistake of attending a party with female Dem operatives from The Region. Nothing good can come of that, but it shouldn’t cost Hill the office permanently with questionable “evidence” against him for an alleged minor wrongdoing…for which I hope he learned a lesson and will stay away from those people!.
What don’t you get, Bob P, from the IN Supreme Court ruling? “Female Dem operatives from The Region”?! What is wrong with you? Go back to Fox News and The 700 Club.
Yes, Bob P. is spouting unhinged conspiracy theories. He hasn’t a scintilla of evidence to back up his claim this was a fix. And he has the gall to downplay what happened as minor wrongdoing. I keep asking him how he’d feel if it was his mother, wife, sisters, daughters with whom Hill was playing graba$$ and he’s never responded.
OK, team liberals; if it wasn’t minor wrongdoing, what was it? It was wrongdoing, to be sure, but did he rape anybody? Disrobe them? TRY to disrobe them? And I never said it was a fix; it must have been someone else’s post to whom you are referring. You guys are sure great at putting words into someone else’s mouth, aren’t you?
The whole thing was he said / she said, as those things usually are. Hill has been reprimanded and I accept that ruling. Now get over your self-righteousness…or may assume neither Michael G. nor Ed Ucated G. has ever done anything even remotely “wrong,” right? If so, how is life in the monastery these days?
You guys need a life. I’ve said I hope Hill learned his lesson about partying with Democrat women from the Region and I’ll stand by that; he never should have been where he was. You can be sure they’d like nothing more than to take down a prominent Republican in any manner possible; we’ll never know what might have transpired (and/or unreported) had he been a Democrat power broker from the Region, will we? (Or maybe you guys already know.) Hill is to be blamed for the poor judgment of being there to begin with, and he is.
Now you guys go back to watching The View, CNN, and MSNBC…they need the ratings more than FOX News…of which I watch less than 2 hours per week, incidentally, most of it Fox & Friends in the morning….really heavy reactionary, conservative stuff, eh?
According to the five Republicans on the Indiana Supreme Court, Curtis Hill is guilty of battery.
And since he’s the attorney general of the state of Indiana, he’s held to a higher standard. If he doesn’t want to be held to a higher standard, he should take a different job.
If he wants to blame anyone, it should be the people he was hanging out with that night who gave him all those drinks. His wingmen failed him.
I like how it’s always the women’s fault. smh.
Female Dem operatives? ROTFLOL
Yes, those Female Democratic Operatives from the Region. Im sure they were just asking for it. Those miserable evil temptresses. Bunch of jezebelle hoooores. Oh Bob P, crawl but under your rock.