2020 Indiana Republican Party convention recap

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The 2020 Indiana Republican Convention was carried live by WISH-TV and WISHTV.com on Thursday.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb spoke live from the WISH-TV studio. He delivered the keynote address and made a pitch for a second term. However, the race everyone was watching is the one for State Attorney General.

Candidates for attorney general provided prerecorded messages. The candidates are:

  • Incumbent Curtis Hill Jr.,
  • Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harter
  • Former U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita
  • Indianapolis attorney John Westercamp

Current Attorney General Curtis Hill made his first public comments since his law license was suspended for a month by the State Supreme Court. Four women claim Hill inappropriately touched them back in 2018, which lead to the suspension for violating professional conduct rules. Hill’s license was reinstated on Wednesday. Despite other candidates, including the governor, asking Hill to step down or not run for re-election, he is running and fired back on Thursday.

“Some Republicans who seem too afraid to fight for what is right are following the Democrat strategy to question my ability to win in November,” said Hill. 

Incumbent Curtis Hill came out swinging as he spoke directly to party delegates who will select the Republican candidate.

“Both President Trump and I are wounded. Some would say, and yes, we are both warriors with battle scars. But I have grown stronger and wiser from every experience” said Hill. “The Democrat party would like you to take me out, because they know they can’t.”

Todd Rokita is a former congressman and secretary of state. He is the challenger with the most name recognition. He took the most direct shots at the incumbent.

“Curtis Hill has put himself ahead of his elected office and our values because of his bad judgment. He’s not a martyr.” said Rokita. “We are the ones being railroaded when our conservative gains will fall victim when we lose in November.”

Rokita questioned Hill’s values and judgment, then pushed for his own candidacy. 

“Let’s get this saga behind us by nominating the strongest candidate,” said Rokita.

Nate Harter is the prosecutor in Decatur County, which includes Greensburg. Like the other candidates, he pointed to his conservative credentials and promised protection of life and guns.

“My time as prosecuting attorney has prepared me to be an effective executive, developing a workplace culture built on respect and teamwork,” said Harter.

John Westercamp pointed to his credentials in the private sector in making his case and had more to say about Hill’s spending on satellite offices and other expenses than directly addressing the conduct violations.

“I’m not running because I’m looking for my next political job or to continue a career in politics. I’m not running because of any other candidate. I’m running because I have a vision and plan to make the office of the attorney general more efficient, effective and transparent,” said Westercamp.

Delegates will be allowed to vote through July 9. The nominee will be announced July 10.

The winner of the Republican attorney general nomination will face off against Democratic nominee Jonathan Weinzapfel, the former mayor of Evansville.

The convention’s keynote address was given by Governor Eric Holcomb. Holcomb is looking for a second term. 

He called his vision “one Indiana for all.” It includes overcoming racial inequality, modernizing state government, finishing I-69 and continuing to cut infant mortality.
It’s all being done with an eye to revving the economic engine back up through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But we have more work to do. One Indiana for all means using our time, our resources and our compassion to help ease the psychological toll these last few months have taken on Hoosiers. Because we know mental health is just as important as our physical or our fiscal health and we need to focus on all three of them simultaneously,” said Holcomb.

Holcomb faces a challenge from democratic candidate Dr. Woody Myers and libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater.

Also providing prerecorded speeches were state chairman Kyle Hupfer, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, and Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence.

Also watch our coverage of the Democratic convention from two weeks ago.