By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – Possibly the most interesting collection of candidates at Thursday night’s Lincoln Day dinner in North Webster won’t even be on the ballot in next Tuesday’s Primary.
Kosciusko County GOP Chairman Mike Ragan confirmed Tuesday night, May 26, that all four Republican candidates running for Indiana Attorney General – including incumbent Curtis Hill – have sent RSVPs indicating they plan to attend the May 28 dinner at the Owl’s Nest Restaurant.
Hill, whose law license has been suspended for 30 days by the Indiana Supreme Court in connection with allegations that he groped four women in a bar in 2018, is being challenged by Todd Rokita, John Westercamp, and Nate Harter.
The four will vie for the party’s nomination at a convention later this summer. The winner will face a challenger from the Democratic Party in the Nov. 3 election.
Ragan said all four Republican candidates will be given 90 seconds to speak to the audience at Thursday’s dinner.
The inclusion of the four is the latest twist for an event that had to be rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The annual dinner was originally planned for April 16 in Warsaw and Gov. Eric Holcomb had been announced as the guest speaker.
Holcomb could not participate in the rescheduled event. Ragan, who is friends with Rokita, then announced Rokita would be the keynote speaker. But that happened before Rokita’s announcement last week that he would seek the nomination for attorney general, Ragan said.
It was unclear if Rokita would serve as the main speaker since he will get a 90-second opportunity along with the other candidates.
The rescheduled event quickly sold out. Organizers had to limit seating to about 126 people and are calling for guests to practice social distancing.
Rokita was elected twice as Indiana Secretary of State and then served four terms as the Fourth District Representative in Congress. He was a candidate in the 2018 US Senate race that was eventually won by Mike Braun.
Westercamp is an attorney with the Indianapolis law firm, Bose McKinney & Evans.
Harter is the Decatur County Prosecuting Attorney and serves as Chairman of the Decatur County Republican Party.
Hill is a former Elkhart County Prosecutor. He’s serving his first term as attorney general.
Holcomb had called on Hill to resign after the groping allegations came to light. As of last week, Holcomb was avoiding publicly endorsing anyone for the upcoming nomination for attorney general.