Todd Rokita to replace Curtis Hill on GOP ticket for Indiana attorney general

curtis Hill 600px
Curtis Hill (IBJ file photo)

Former U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita will be the Republican Party’s nominee for Indiana Attorney General, narrowly topping embattled incumbent Curtis Hill in a vote of delegates, the Indiana GOP announced Friday.

Rokita received 52.15% of the vote in a third round of voting, the party said.

The results came after mail-in voting by some 1,800 state convention delegates for four candidates after a campaign among party activists that centered on whether the allegations against Hill left him vulnerable to defeat in the November election.

Low-vote getter John Westercamp, an Indianapolis lawyer, was dropped after the first round and Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harter was dropped after the second round.

Hill had been seen as a rising African American star among Republicans and worked to build support among social conservatives, touting himself as an anti-abortion and tough-on-crime crusader and making appearances on Fox News to discuss topics such as San Francisco’s troubles with homelessness.

Rokita was Hill’s most prominent challenger, saying he entered the race because Hill had a history of “bad judgment, bad choices and not taking responsibilities” marring his time as state government’s top lawyer.

Hill, who was elected as attorney general in 2016 after 14 years as Elkhart County prosecutor, was seeking reelection despite opposition from Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and other top state GOP leaders. Holcomb hasn’t endorsed a candidate but called on Hill to resign over the allegations that he drunkenly groped a state lawmaker and three other women during March 2018 party marking the end of that year’s legislative session.

Todd Rokita

Hill, 59, has denied wrongdoing, and a special prosecutor declined to file criminal charges against him. But the state Supreme Court suspended his law license for 30 days, ruling unanimously in May that the state’s attorney disciplinary commission “proved by clear and convincing evidence that (Hill) committed the criminal act of battery.”

Former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel won the Democratic nomination a race that the party is targeting in hopes of breaking the current hold Republicans have on all statewide elected offices.

Weinzapfel has criticized Hill over his participation with other Republican attorneys general in the lawsuit against “Obamacare,” but Hill’s Republican opponents have argued the groping allegations put party control of the office in jeopardy.

Democratic Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon testified during an October attorney disciplinary hearing that Hill, smelling of alcohol and with glassy eyes, was holding a drink in his right hand and put his left hand on her shoulder, then slid his hand down her dress to clench her buttocks. “A squeeze, a firm grasp,” she said.

Three female legislative staffers—ages 23 to 26 at the time—testified that Hill inappropriately touched their backs or buttocks and made unwelcome sexual comments during the party.

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.

Rokita champions his “solid history” of defending gun rights and religious freedom, as well as his previous work while secretary of state to implement the nation’s first photo voter identification law.

Rokita has faced several controversies, including allegations that his congressional staffers often felt obligated to do political work to help his campaigns. And a 2018 Associated Press analysis of state and congressional spending records revealed that Rokita had spent more than $3 million in public money on ad campaigns that often coincided with his bids for office.


Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

13 thoughts on “Todd Rokita to replace Curtis Hill on GOP ticket for Indiana attorney general

  1. This was a given when Todd Rokita entered the race. These women went out and got drunk with Hill in the wee hours. If they no longer enjoyed his company, they could have left.There were no criminal charges. He’s been railroaded by the Republicans. I hope he rises in the party in the future, as one night in a bar should not define his future. I’m sorry to see him go. Come back, Curtis! You have supporters, and I had planned to vote for you. Now, I don’t care about the AG race at all.

  2. Not voting for Holcomb’s stooge Ratkita!

    They better have means for a write in vote! Otherwise RINO Holcomb just gave the office to the Dems.

    I think that was the intent and purpose in the first place as to get someone that will rubber stamp a lot of liberal left agendas over traditional Hoosier Values!

  3. I’ve noticed that Republicans seem to have an even stronger opinion about Rokita than Democrats. He has a reputation of being unscrupulous in his pursuit of power (even by career politician standards). Especially within the Indiana GOP.

  4. Sad to hear this. Curtis Hill is an honorable man, a great leader, and has so much promise. I still feel God will exonerate him. Too many good men get falsely accused by women who have an agenda, and that was obviously the case here. In this day of empowered women, I find it hard to believe these women wouldn’t have taken action–such as move away–if someone were groping them. But then maybe they were a little drunk. I won’t vote for Rokita either, especially since Gov. Holcomb is behind him. Curtis Hill, I expect to see you run for governor before long. We need a man who is tough on crime and against abortion.

  5. This is so sad. The man who garnered more Indiana votes than any candidate for any state office in 2016, outpacing even Donald Trump, gets brought down by the cultural milquetoast power brokers in the Republican Party. Asinine. I’m ashamed to admit I’m a Republican in this instance; the party just can’t seem to take two steps forward in appealing to black voters without taking three steps back. Bummer. I know Todd Rokita, have talked with him one on one many times, personally like him, and have voted for him every time he’s been on the ballot, but this is an outrage. The party should be ashamed of itself.

    Carry on, Mr. Hill!

  6. Republicans celebrating the victory of Rokita over Hill – Republicans should be so proud that this was the best they could do. Mr. Rokita is a vapid individual who will say and do anything to continue to live off taxpayers dollars while all the time claiming to be a free market individual. This guy has never seen a government job he could pass up.
    I am sure that Indiana voters will continue to vote Republican candidates in office even against their own best interest.
    Mr. Rokita will stoop to new lows in this campaign because he has learned that he really has no marketable skills in the real world and his only chance for economic survival is to once again turn to taxpayers to pay his mortgage.

    1. So Todd Rokita has been starving or living on welfare since he didn’t win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2016, Gary? How do you know so much about his personal and financial life?

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.