Embattled Indiana Attorney General Loses Party Nomination

Curtis Hill was accused of sexually harassing four women in March 2018 during a party marking the end of the legislative session known as the Sine Die celebration.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill speaks during a news conference in July 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (CN) — Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, whose law license was recently suspended for a month over groping accusations, lost the Republican Party’s nomination for his job Friday as delegates narrowly chose a former congressman instead.  

After three rounds of voting and only after two other candidates dropped out, Todd Rokita was able to edge out Hill by securing 52.15% of the delegate vote. Rokita and Hill competed alongside Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harter and Indianapolis attorney John Westercamp.

“I am humbled by the support of delegates from throughout Indiana who have nominated me to serve as Indiana’s next attorney general. I want to thank our great team of tireless volunteers and supporters,” Rokita said in a statement. “I look forward to serving with integrity as Indiana’s next attorney general.”

Representatives for Hill did not immediately respond Friday to requests for comment.

Now that he has secured the Republican nomination, Rokita, who represented Indiana’s 4th Congressional District from 2011 to 2019, will compete for the attorney general job in November against former Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, who became the Democratic nominee last month.

Unlike a primary, where voters select a party nominee for the general election, in Indiana the nominations for the attorney general’s office are selected by party delegates. For the Republican nominee, 1,800 convention delegates voted for their preferred candidate.

Little separated the four candidates’ legal philosophies, as all four men championed their anti-abortion stances and all vowed to strongly defend the rights of gun owners.

As the state’s current attorney general, Hill’s retention of the GOP nomination came into question after his law license was suspended for 30 days in May, when the Indiana Supreme Court found credible the accusations that he had sexually harassed and groped four women in March 2018 during a party marking the end of the legislative session known as the Sine Die celebration.

The state high court leaned heavily on a report from the state’s disciplinary commission finding Hill’s actions constituted battery.

“Respondent’s conduct, both during and after the Sine Die party, has caused injury to the four women. Respondent’s conduct was offensive, invasive, damaging, and embarrassing to the four women,” the report states.

All four candidates made their final pitches to delegates at the Indiana Republican Convention in June. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the state’s Republican Party opted not to hold an in-person event and instead held a virtual convention where the attorney general candidates had a chance to make their case for the nomination through prerecorded messages.

Rokita – who launched an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2018, losing the GOP nomination to now-Senator Mike Braun – has been a staunch critic of Hill and continued to criticize the attorney general during his speech at the convention.

“Curtis Hill has put himself ahead of his elected office and our values because of his bad judgment. Not just on one night, but in a long pattern of inappropriate behavior,” Rokita said.

Hill defended himself during his convention message by drawing parallels between himself and President Donald Trump, who has also faced accusations of inappropriate conduct with women.

“Look I’m not perfect, no one is. But like President Trump I have faced accusations and investigations designed to destroy me politically,” Hill said. “The Democratic Party would like you to take me out because they know they can’t.”

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