INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A southern Indiana prosecutor launched a Republican nomination challenge on Tuesday against state Attorney General Curtis Hill, whose law license is threatened over allegations that he drunkenly groped a state legislator and three other women.
Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harter gained the endorsement of Adam Krupp, a former official in Gov. Eric Holcomb's administration who ended his campaign Tuesday after entering the attorney general’s race in January.
Harter and Indianapolis attorney John Westercamp are trying to deny Hill the nomination for the November election ballot that will be decided by Republican state convention delegates.
The challenges come as Hill awaits a decision from the state Supreme Court on whether he’ll face any punishment over allegations that he drunkenly groped the four women during a party at a downtown Indianapolis bar marking the end of the 2018 legislative session. Hill has denied wrongdoing, but a hearing officer has recommended that Hill’s law license be suspended for at least 60 days.
Harter could be helped among convention delegates by his time as the Decatur County Republican chairman and as a member of the state GOP committee. He argued Republicans must protect their control of the office that serves as state government's top lawyer.
“There is simply too much at stake to risk losing the position to a liberal Democrat who will be well positioned to undermine the agenda of our friends in the legislature and in the executive branch,” Harter said in a statement. “We cannot let that happen.”
State Sen. Karen Tallian of Ogden Dunes and former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel are seeking the Democratic nomination as the party sees a chance to break the current hold Republicans have on all statewide elected offices.
Holcomb and other state Republican leaders have called on Hill to resign, but the governor hasn’t endorsed an attorney general candidate. Hill has rebuffed the resignation calls as he seeks re-election, counting on the support of social conservatives among delegates at the convention scheduled for June 20.
A statement released by Hill’s campaign didn’t address the criticism against him.
“I welcome all who are committed to join me in the process as I continue my work as attorney general on behalf of Hoosiers during these most difficult and challenging times,” Hill said.
Krupp resigned as Holcomb’s state revenue department commissioner to enter the attorney general’s race. Krupp said in endorsing Harter that a new attorney general is needed because of Hill’s failures “both in his operation of the office and personal behaviors outside of it.”
“I remain dedicated to seeing someone restore integrity to Indiana’s Office of Attorney General,” Krupp said. “As I have said from day one, it’s time to change the conversation from the negativity hanging over the office.”