The Republican leader of Indiana’s Education Department is backing Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel in his bid for attorney general, calling on other members of the GOP to follow suit.
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick urged Hoosiers this week to support the Democratic candidate, saying the former state representative and Evansville mayor is the better choice for Hoosier families. Republicans this summer nominated former Rep. Todd Rokita in the AG race, ousting current Attorney General Curtis Hill.
“This isn’t about politics, this is about who has the experience, the integrity and the vision to best represent all Hoosiers, especially our children,” said McCormick, who is not seeking a second term as state superintendent this November. “Jonathan has a well-earned reputation for bipartisan problem solving, for listening and for making a real difference in every job he’s had. That’s why I’m supporting him and that’s why I am calling all Republicans to join me in supporting him.”
Weinzapfel is running in the Nov. 3 election against Rokita, who also previously served as Indiana Secretary of State. Weinzapfel described himself during the primary season as becoming the attorney general of the people, not the party. In announcing McCormick’s support, he spoke of other “high-profile, bipartisan endorsements,” including those from the Indiana State Building and Construction Trades Council and the Indiana State Teachers Association.
“Crossing party lines is never easy, so I am truly honored to have earned Dr. McCormick’s support,” Weinzapfel said in a Thursday statement. “Like Dr. McCormick, I will always put people over politics. I will be an independent voice who will stand up for Hoosier families, who will work with anyone willing to work with me and who will seek common sense solutions to the many challenges that face us as a state.”
For his part, Rokita is campaigning on a platform of providing certainty in uncertain times, drawing on his previous experience holding statewide office. His campaign is chaired by Republican state Sen. Erin Houchin, and two of his three opponents in the Republican primary — Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harter and attorney Jonathan Westercamp — have pledged their support for his campaign.
Hill has not explicitly endorsed Rokita in public, staying instead that he would continue to support conservative principles.
Weinzapfel defeated state Sen. Karen Tallian in the Democratic primary. Tallian has since joined his campaign as honorary chair.
Rokita’s campaign has also announced the endorsement of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who described Rokita in a video as a fighter who supports law enforcement and the rule of law.