MERRILLVILLE  – One might say that Indiana Republicans are thicker than thieves. Yeah, they rarely are at odds with each other and, if that happens, they patch things up quickly. The last time Hoosier Republicans were at odds was six years ago when the Tea Party faction led the charge to defeat Sen. Richard Lugar in the primary.

Richard Mourdock ousted Lugar and went on to embarrass himself and the party leading up to the general election. And, the man who benefitted from that party warfare was a fellow named Joe Donnelly, who now sits in the U.S. Senate, thanks to a good number of Republicans turning their backs on Mourdock. It’s time for Donnelly to seek reelection and unfortunately for him, he isn’t facing Mourdock. But Donnelly is again facing a divided Republican Party, thanks to GOP Attorney General Curtis Hill. Four women, including state Rep. Mara Reardon, D-Munster, have accused Hill of groping them at an Indianapolis bar following the conclusion of the General Assembly in March. As a result, Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Republican leaders of the House and Senate have called on Hill to resign.
Not so fast, say other Republicans.
Linda Chezem, a retired Indiana Court of Appeals judge, and prominent GOP attorney James Bopp Jr. are heading up a group to raise money in support of Hill. “Political lynching and character assassination are not new in politics, but Indiana can and should do better,” Chezem said. “We need no more lynching by innuendo and anonymous leakers,” Chezem added. “The current situation is like peeling an onion – the more the layers are peeled off, the stronger the smell.”
The more Republicans go at each other, the wider the smile on Donnelly’s face. Whether the Republican split will direct some GOP votes to Donnelly remains to be seen. It surely can’t hurt Donnelly, who is an underdog in what continues to be one of the reddest states in the country. The issue also may boost Indiana Democrats who already are energized by the follies of President Donald Trump. 

Rich James has been writing about politics and government for almost 40 years. He is retired from the Post-Tribune, a newspaper born in Gary.