INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Former Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, whose time in office was marred by allegations that he drunkenly groped four women during a party, filed Monday to seek the Republican nomination to replace U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski following her death in a highway crash.
Hill is among at least five candidates in a growing field of candidates for Saturday's Republican caucus to take Walorski's place on the November election ballot in northern Indiana's solidly GOP 2nd Congressional District.
The other candidates include Rudy Yakym, whom Walorski's husband endorsed Monday, calling him "a political outsider who has what it takes to stand up to the Pelosi-Biden agenda." Yakym is an executive with Elkhart distribution company Kem Krest and a former Walorski campaign staffer.
"He will fight to do the right thing, just as Jackie did every day of her career. I encourage the precinct committeemen to support Rudy in this week's caucus," Dean Swihart said in a statement released by Walorski's campaign.
Hill, a former Elkhart County prosecutor, denied wrongdoing but the state Supreme Court ordered a 30-day suspension of his law license after finding "by clear and convincing evidence that (Hill) committed the criminal act of battery" against three female legislative staffers and then-state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, a Munster Democrat, at the 2018 party.
The allegations were a key campaign issue when he lost the 2020 Republican attorney general nomination for his reelection to Todd Rokita, who took office in January 2021.
Hill didn't immediately post any statements Monday about his congressional campaign decision to his political social media accounts or respond to a telephone message seeking comment.
Walorski, who was 58, was a passenger in an SUV with two members of her congressional office staff Aug. 3 when it crossed the median of a northern Indiana state highway and collided with an oncoming vehicle, the Elkhart County Sheriff's Office said. The two staff members and the other driver were also killed.
Walorski was seeking reelection to the seat that she first won in 2012. Under Indiana law, it will be up to local Republican officials to decide nominations for a special election to complete Walorski's term through the end of this year and to replace her on the ballot for the full two-year term. Both elections will be on the November general election ballot.
Democrats now hold a narrow 220-210 majority in the U.S. House, with Walorski's death giving it five current vacancies.
Other candidates to replace Walorski include former state Rep. Christy Stutzman, the wife of former U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, and state Rep. Curt Nisly, a hardline conservative who lost his reelection campaign in the May Republican primary. Another candidate is Tiernan Kane of South Bend, a lawyer for Washington-based law firm Cooper & Kirk, which has represented conservatives in numerous cases.
Stutzman resigned her Indiana House seat in late 2020 just weeks after winning election to a second term, saying she needed to devote more time to her family's business after they and business partners bought the former Amish Acres tourist attraction. Her husband, Marlin Stutzman, served six years in Congress from northeastern Indiana's 3rd District before losing a 2016 Republican primary U.S. Senate bid amid ethics concerns from an Associated Press investigation into the spending of campaign money on hotels, meals and at least one family trip.
Democrat Paul Steury, a high school science teacher from Goshen, and Libertarian William Henry are currently on the ballot for the full term. Party officials will be able to pick nominees for the special election.