INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill announced Thursday he is running for re-election in 2020, ignoring allegations of misconduct and calls for his resignation from some Republican party leaders.
“Over the last three years, I have worked to fulfill my pledge to Hoosiers: from cracking down on violent criminals to protecting the most vulnerable in our society,” Hill said in his announcement. “Standing for what’s right is harder than ever, but I do it every day with courage and conviction as Attorney General, and I’m just getting started.”
Hill, the former Elkhart County prosecutor before he was elected to state office in 2016, said “Indiana needs strength, courage, and bold conservative leadership.”
“At a time when freedom and our way of life are under attack, I’ll continue to work with President Trump, and others, on important issues facing our nation and state,” he said. “I’ll never back down from partisan attacks, the media, and even Republicans embarrassed to defend our values.”
Hill, who made the announcement in a video, does not discuss the allegations stemming from a party in Indianapolis last year in which is accused of drunkenly groping four women, including a state lawmaker.
He still faces a ruling – ranging from a dismissal of the complaint to sanctions that could include the loss of his law license and the ability to remain in office as the state’s top lawyer – in a professional misconduct case before an Indiana Supreme Court disciplinary commission.
The women’s claims led Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state GOP leaders to call for Hill’s resignation after they became public last year.
Hill’s video instead mentions legal actions against drug companies over the national opioid crisis and defending state laws imposing additional abortion restrictions. It shows images of Hill with President Donald Trump interspersed with favorite national conservative attack targets such as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“I stood with President Trump,” Hill says in the video. “I’ll never back down from partisan attacks, the media, and even Republicans embarrassed to defend our values.”
Hill has denied doing anything wrong and a special prosecutor declined to file criminal charges over the allegations.
The Republican attorney general nominee will be picked at the state party convention in June ahead of the November 2020 election.
Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and House Speaker Brian Bosma are among top state Republicans who have called for Hill’s resignation. Holcomb hasn’t yet endorsed anyone for the nomination.
Over the summer, Indianapolis attorney John Westercamp announced he was seeking the Republican nomination for state attorney general. He was backed by state Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola.
“The governor and lieutenant governor have been clear and consistent from the beginning: Curtis Hill should not be Attorney General of the State of Indiana,” state Republican Party spokesman Jake Oakman said in a statement. “This announcement doesn’t change anything.”
Hill will be counting on the support of social conservatives among state convention delegates in order to win the GOP nomination. He’s fueled that support with news conferences about the discovery of more than 2,400 sets of fetal remains at Chicago-area properties linked to a deceased Indiana abortion doctor and appearances on Fox News to discuss topics such as San Francisco’s troubles with homelessness.
Hill was elected last November as vice chairman of the national Republican Attorneys General Association, which provided about half of the $1.5 million he spent in easily winning election over a little-known Democrat in 2016.
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody called Hill “a disgrace.”
“His conduct is below the standard of an elected official, let alone the state’s top law enforcement officer,” Zody said. “In his announcement, Hill lights the fuse on what could be a powder keg of a Republican convention by openly taunting Governor Holcomb and other Indiana Republicans.”
Elected the state’s 43rd attorney general in 2016, Hill received the most votes by any candidate in the state’s history and has served since 2017.
Contributing: Tom Davies with The Associated Press