By Brianna Lyman
A Republican candidate for a town board seat won his primary in Indiana on Tuesday despite being in jail while awaiting a murder trial in the death of his wife, according to reports.
Andrew Wilhoite won 21.74% of the votes in the primary race for the Clinton Township board, according to Fox 59. Wilhoite declared his candidacy in February, just weeks before he is accused of murdering his wife, who had just finished chemotherapy, according to the report.
Authorities were alerted March 25 that Wilhoite’s wife, Elizabeth “Nikki,” was missing, according to the report. They questioned Wilhoite, who initially claimed he and Nikki had fought the previous night and Nikki was likely at her sister’s house, Fox 29 reported. Police then discovered blood in the master bedroom and bathroom, as well as learned that Nikki had filed for divorce just days prior, according to the report.
Wilhoite allegedly confessed to police that he fatally struck Nikki in the face with a gallon-sized cement flower pot before dumping her body in a creek, according to Fox 29.
Andrew Wilhoite is facing murder charges after he told deputies he dumped his wife’s body in a creek her after striking her with a flower pot during a fight.
Despite that, he just won a GOP primary in Indiana 🗳️https://t.co/0vGbRMDFnI
— 7News DC (@7NewsDC) May 6, 2022
Friends said Nikki was trying to leave the relationship for years and had been in danger, according to WTHR.
If Wilhoite is convicted of a felony or withdraws his candidacy, then he will not be on the ballot in the upcoming general election. His trial is set to begin in August, according to WTHR. (RELATED: Trump-Backed Candidates Win Big In Ohio Primaries)
Elizabeth Bennion, Chancellor’s Professor of Political Science at Indiana University South Bend, told Fox 29 that “being accused of a crime is very different than being convicted of a crime.”
“A person loses ballot access in Indiana, in other words, the right to run for or serve in public access if they are convicted of a felony,” she said. “That is very different than being accused because there is a presumption of innocent, which means that person very well may be found innocent and therefore, be able to serve in office.”