Will coronavirus reshape the 5th CD race?

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By Adam Wren and design by Kris Davidson

The coronavirus could reshape Indiana’s hotly contested 5th Congressional District race.

Indiana Treasurer Kelly Mitchell, a Republican candidate, will announce tomorrow a new approach to campaigning down the homestretch of the primary: The candidate will hold a virtual town hall every week until Election Day on May 5.

Mitchell had planned two business meet and greets and a Boone County cocktail hour, which have been canceled so far.

Mitchell will still plan to attend Lincoln Day dinners and other in-person events, according to a spokesperson, but this virtual approach “will allow voters who don’t want to attend these events an opportunity to interact with Kelly from the safety of their home.”

“The health and safety of Hoosiers is important to me,” Mitchell will say in a statement tomorrow. “We are launching this townhall series to give 5th district voters a voice. Our goal is to engage voters and give them the opportunity to ask questions, hear my platform, and learn why I am the best candidate to represent them in Congress. I encourage everyone to share our townhall information with friends and family, to take part in the primary process, and most importantly, stay safe.”

The first Mitchell virtual townhall date is Wednesday, March 18, from 7-8 p.m.

“Our campaign is actively monitoring the situation,” said Republican Carl Brizzi. “Overreacting is actually what the progressive elites want. Overreacting hurts the President. We will make day to day decisions in the best interests of public health and not use this epidemic to politically grandstand.”

Meanwhile, Republican Beth Henderson’s “On the Trail-er Tour” is still on, according to a spokesperson. “We are following both the direction given by the Indiana State Department of Health and how national and state level campaigns are being handled,” said Rachael Coverdale, a spokesperson for the campaign. “We will adjust accordingly.”  

Representatives from other Republican and Democratic campaigns in the district were not immediately available for comment.