INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita announced Wednesday that he's entering the Indiana attorney general's race, saying he will challenge embattled Attorney General Curtis Hill because his fellow Republican has been “wounded” by allegations that he drunkenly groped a state lawmaker and three other women at a party.
Rokita's bid for state attorney general comes more than a week after his May 12 announcement that he was considering seeking the Republican nomination for the office after the state Supreme Court ordered a 30-day law license suspension for Hill over the groping allegations.
Rokita said in a statement that he's seeking the nomination to bring certainty to the race and to help Republicans keep the statewide post in November.
“Running against a Republican officeholder is not something I ever would want to do, in just about any circumstance. But our incumbent is wounded. The unanimous Supreme Court ruling, by Republican appointed and conservative Justices, after a significant investigation of the facts made this choice clear,” Rokita said in a statement announcing his campaign.
Hill, whose law license suspension began Monday, has denied doing anything wrong and is seeking reelection despite calls to resign from Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state GOP leaders.
State Sen. Karen Tallian, of Ogden Dunes, and former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel are seeking the Democratic nomination.
Rokita won statewide elections as secretary of state in 2002 and 2006 before he held a central Indiana congressional seat for eight years. He lost a 2018 bid for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination to Mike Braun.
Lauren Ganapini, the executive director of the Indiana Democratic Party, called Rokita a “perennial candidate" in a statement Wednesday and said his entry into the race “will all but ensure the GOP AG’s race devolves into a bare-knuckled brawl."
“Todd Rokita’s eleventh hour entrance is poised to implode what was already an embarrassing effort from Indiana Republicans," Ganapini said.