BREAKING NEWS : Fort Wayne Police searching for missing 12-year-old boy Full Story

Indiana attorney general candidates split over coronavirus powers

Indiana Attorney General

Indiana’s attorney general candidates are divided over how the Republican governor has used the state’s emergency powers law to impose a mask mandate and other coronavirus-related executive orders that have stirred discord among conservative voters.

Posted: Oct 7, 2020 12:48 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s attorney general candidates are divided over how the Republican governor has used the state’s emergency powers law to impose a mask mandate and other coronavirus-related executive orders that have stirred discord among conservative voters.

But it is the Democratic candidate who fully supports Gov. Eric Holcomb’s legal authority while the Republican candidate is emphasizing what he calls the need to curb that power.


Jonathan Weinzapfel, Democratic state attorney general candidate for 2020

Todd Rokita

Holcomb has faced criticism from some conservatives — including the current Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill — over the 44 executive orders that he has issued since first declaring a statewide public health emergency on March 6.

Some of that pushback has focused on Holcomb’s refusal to use his exclusive power to recall legislators to the Statehouse since their regular 2020 session ended March 11 — just as COVID-19 shutdowns started spreading across the country.

Republican attorney general candidate Todd Rokita calls the coronavirus very contagious and worse than the flu, but says he wants to work with legislators to revise the state emergency law, which was largely drafted in 2003 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Rokita said he believed it was meant for temporary situations such as floods, tornadoes or terrorist actions, even though epidemics are included among the 29 situations specified in the law.

“I don’t see in reading it that it’s at all meant for something with the duration as long as this pandemic,” Rokita said.

Rokita is a former congressman and Indiana secretary of state.

He won the Republican nomination over Hill after the state Supreme Court suspended Hill’s law license for 30 days; Hill had been accused of groping a s tate lawmaker and three other women during a party.

Holcomb dropped any possible criminal penalties from the statewide mask mandate in July after Hill argued the governor was overstepping his authority and that only the Legislature could take such a step.

Democratic attorney general nominee Jonathan Weinzapfel said he wouldn’t have undercut Holcomb’s mask order and that Rokita isn’t supporting the governor’s mandate by wanting to kick the issue to the Legislature.

“He’s on the wrong side of science, the wrong side of public health,” Weinzapfel said. “He can stand with Curtis Hill. I will stand proudly, on this issue, with Governor Holcomb.”

Several members of the Republican-dominated Legislature have said they will propose limits on the governor’s emergency authority, such as capping the number of 30-day extensions he can declare without legislative consent.

Weinzapfel, a former Evansville mayor and state representative, said since Indiana’s part-time Legislature only meets a few months a year, the governor must be able to respond in emergencies.

“I would hope they will maintain that authority for the governor,” Weinzapfel said. “I’m sure there are plenty of things that could be changed to make it more reflective of what we’ve experienced over the last few months.”

The discontent over Holcomb’s coronavirus orders has some longtime Republicans saying they will vote for Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Donald Rainwater in November’s election.

Rainwater flatly opposes the mask requirement, while Holcomb’s Democratic challenger, Woody Myers, a physician and former state health commissioner, has called for tougher enforcement of the mask mandate and called Holcomb’s easing of precautions in recent weeks “a huge mistake.” Indiana’s rates of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have grown in the past month.

Rokita said he “absolutely” supports Holcomb’s reelection and that leaders across the country faced an unprecedented situation when the pandemic first hit the country.

“The governor was in a very difficult position and led in a way that, by in large, kept the state safe relative to other states,” Rokita said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 749097

Reported Deaths: 13745
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030271775
Lake554211006
Allen41613691
St. Joseph36933564
Hamilton36505416
Elkhart29347459
Tippecanoe22849225
Vanderburgh22540400
Porter19313325
Johnson18386387
Hendricks17583317
Clark13190193
Madison13111344
Vigo12602253
LaPorte12385221
Monroe12152175
Delaware10947197
Howard10250225
Kosciusko9609119
Hancock8541144
Bartholomew8158157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7763180
Grant7227179
Wayne7154201
Boone6911103
Morgan6735141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6205116
Cass5989108
Henry5893108
Dearborn588878
Noble579786
Jackson508374
Shelby500697
Lawrence4727121
Gibson444093
Harrison440473
Clinton439855
DeKalb438585
Montgomery433890
Whitley405642
Huntington402181
Steuben398659
Miami392568
Jasper386254
Knox375690
Putnam371860
Wabash360583
Ripley346470
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White329753
Daviess3028100
Wells294881
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284664
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269855
Clay265448
Randolph244683
Washington244534
Jennings235149
Spencer234131
Starke227558
Fountain218347
Sullivan213943
Owen210858
Fulton201542
Jay200832
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175626
Vermillion173544
Franklin170135
Tipton165746
Parke148916
Pike137934
Blackford136032
Pulaski120047
Newton112636
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton100814
Martin91415
Warren83515
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0421

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107047

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1284921459
Cuyahoga1155972204
Hamilton812991245
Montgomery524821040
Summit48339999
Lucas43303817
Butler38901603
Stark33286929
Lorain25641502
Warren24557303
Mahoning22330601
Lake21135385
Clermont20097252
Delaware18817135
Licking16645222
Fairfield16561204
Trumbull16522479
Medina15593270
Greene15252246
Clark14219306
Wood13280197
Portage13226214
Allen11905239
Richland11598211
Miami10835223
Wayne9116222
Columbiana9020230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8649122
Marion8635138
Tuscarawas8633247
Erie8052164
Ashtabula7137179
Hancock6996131
Ross6933161
Geauga6832150
Scioto6528104
Belmont6149174
Union583849
Lawrence5722102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5436125
Darke5415129
Seneca5343126
Washington5308109
Athens523360
Auglaize501587
Mercer487385
Shelby476195
Knox4567112
Madison443765
Ashland435197
Putnam4333103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4033110
Brown401961
Logan387277
Preble3847103
Clinton378466
Ottawa372681
Highland359265
Williams347578
Champaign343658
Guernsey324153
Jackson317354
Perry297150
Morrow291340
Fayette285450
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2698101
Coshocton268359
Van Wert247264
Adams242856
Pike242735
Gallia240450
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll196748
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135839
Harrison113638
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 65°
Angola
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 61°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 65°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 65°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 62°
Tuesday is another mostly sunny and comfortable day with a small chance of a stray afternoon shower or sprinkle.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events