EVANSVILLE, Ind. –Diana Moers took the lead in Tuesday’s Republican primary election to choose a candidate for Vanderburgh County District Attorney.

In the first votes counted, Moers received 1,024 votes while Hermann received 840 in the intraparty contest ahead of the Nov. 8 general election. The winner will face Democrat Jon Schaefer, chief attorney for the Vanderburgh County Public Defender’s Agency, who is unopposed in his party’s primary.

The first batch of returns is made up of early votes cast by mail and at libraries, Old National Events Plaza, Northeast Park Baptist Church and Cedar Hall School. Vanderburgh County does not provide results by precinct, as voters from any area of ​​the county can vote at any of the 22 polling centers on Election Day, regardless of where they live.

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Moers would be the first female county prosecutor if she ultimately defeats Hermann and wins the November general election, according to local historians.

The campaign offered Republican voters a stark contrast. Hermann was a familiar figure in local politics as GOP chairman and was part of a well-known family for years before becoming a prosecutor — he is the nephew of prominent businessman and political donor Dan Hermann, former CEO of AmeriQual Group and Black Beauty Coal Co. .

Moers, on the other hand, was a political unknown when his campaign began in October.

Hermann, the grandson of former county recorder and councilwoman Betty Hermann, was the GOP nominee in 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018. The most recent Republican nominee for the office before that was Glen Deig in 1990. The Democrat Stan Levco was the Vanderburgh County District Attorney from January 1991 to January 2011.

Moers, 39, is a native of Evansville and a graduate of North High School. He returned here in November after living elsewhere for at least 15 years. She graduated from Thomas M. Cooley Law School at Western Michigan University in 2007 and worked as an attorney at a law firm in Wheeling, Illinois, and an assistant attorney in Joliet, Illinois.

In 2010, Moers returned to Indiana, working as an attorney in the Secretary of State’s office in Indianapolis, prosecuting violations of the Indiana Securities and Loan Broker Acts. In 2015, she became executive director of the Indiana Board of Custodians in the office of the state treasurer. Two years later, Moers joined an Indianapolis law firm — leaving after six months, she said, because she missed courtroom work.

Since November 2017, Moers has worked as an assistant attorney general and section chief in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

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In pre-primary campaign fundraising reports filed just two weeks ago, Hermann said he raised more than four times as much money as Moers. Hermann hauled $50,610 during the January 1-April 8 reporting period, compared to $12,310 posted by Moers.

But the veteran prosecutor also has problems.

The county and state settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against Hermann in August by paying former district attorney’s office employee Samantha Merideth $75,000 without admitting wrongdoing. Merideth alleged Hermann made unwanted advances when they were alone in a hotel room at a conference in Chicago in 2013 – a claim he denied.

Le Courrier & Presse obtained depositions in the trial and published excerpts from three of them in February. Among the revelations: A top Hermann aide said under oath last year that she believed Merideth’s claims about Hermann’s behavior in Chicago.

The Courier & Press reported in March that the prosecutor’s office used official credit cards in 2020 and 2021 to purchase items such as gourmet strawberries, women’s lingerie and more than $10,000 in staff meals. . The newspaper also reported that Hermann’s office donated at least $25,000 in confiscated money to a private nonprofit he runs, and he refused to provide documents showing what My Goals did with it. the money.

Moers criticized Hermann for his office’s use of official credit cards and his contributions to his nonprofit organization.

The challenger has frequently called for “integrity and professionalism” in campaign mailings and appearances, but has made few direct comments about the sexual harassment accusations.

Thomas B. Langhorne can be reached by email at [email protected]

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