INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – State Representative Eric Turner (R-Cicero) continues to spark controversy even after he announced that he is leaving the General Assembly. His opponent called on Turner to drop his name from the November ballot on Monday.
Democrat Bob Ashley is running against Eric Turner in a district in north central Indiana but said that he feels like he is running against a ghost. The fact is, Ashley is running in a Republican-leaning district and could still lose.
Ashley called reporters to the Statehouse today in an effort to take advantage of the latest Turner news.
“He’s announced that he’s not going to serve in his office if people elect him. That’s an insult to the voters,” Ashley said.
Turner is a 24-year veteran of the House of Representatives who is slated to lose a top leadership post after surviving an ethics committee investigation.
“I talked to Eric Turner this morning,” said Ashley. “And I asked him in the interest of voters in the 32nd district for him to resign now. He declined.”
Turner was accused of influencing fellow lawmakers to kill a bill that would have harmed the family nursing home business, actions that caused the House Speaker to promise new ethics reforms.
His resignation came out of the blue on Friday.
“I’m surprised,” said Republican Mike McDaniel on Indiana Week in Review. “But I think this recent activity and all the publicity that surrounded probably is the reason, and he’s probably said ‘I’m done with it and I’m out the door.'”
“Do you really want to be second line of every story written about ethics reform throughout the entire session?” asked journalist Jon Schwantes.
But it’s Turner’s decision to stay on the ballot that has Democrats crying foul.
“Who do you get? Some draft choice to be named later?” asked Democrat Ann DeLaney. “You don’t even know who you’re voting for if you vote Republican in that district.”
Ashley will continue to campaign against Turner.
“He said he wouldn’t say anything bad about me,” said Ashley. “I did not make the same promise to him.”
If Turner did take his name off the ballot, it’s too late for Republicans to place another name on it. That deadline was July 15.
But, if Turner wins in November, Republican party leaders will get the opportunity to appoint his successor in the General Assembly.
State GOP Chairman Tim Berry was unavailable for comment and so was Turner.