Axios Indianapolis

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๐Ÿฐ Hoppy Friday! However you celebrate, we hope you have a wonderful weekend.

โ˜€๏ธ Today's weather: Mostly sunny, with a high near 69.

๐Ÿ•Š๏ธ Situational awareness: Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry died yesterday following a medical emergency related to the stomach cancer diagnosis he shared with the public in late February. He was 72.

Today's newsletter is 921 words โ€” a 3.5-minute read. Edited by Emma Way and copy edited by Bill Kole.

1 big thing: What we've learned from GOP debates

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The Republicans vying to be Indiana's next governor sparred this week in two of three televised debates planned for the primary election cycle.

The big picture: With six candidates โ€” including five who have held statewide office or a position in the governor's Cabinet and four with serious fundraising war chests โ€” this GOP primary is one of the most competitive (and expensive) in state history. The candidates are:

  • U.S. Sen. Mike Braun
  • Brad Chambers, former commerce secretary and president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
  • Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch
  • Eric Doden, former president of the IEDC
  • Former Attorney General Curtis Hill
  • Jamie Reitenour, a conservative activist, who did not qualify for this week's debates

We watched this week's debates so you didn't have to. Here's what you missed:

โ˜๏ธ Crouch (still) stands alone on income tax elimination

  • Crouch has made eliminating the state income tax her signature campaign promise โ€” so the other candidates have weaponized it as either impossible or imprudent.
  • Why it matters: Indiana brings in roughly $8 billion annually in state income taxes, more than one-third of state revenues.

โ›” Illegal immigration will continue to be an election issue

๐Ÿซฅ Not everyone was invited

  • Debate hosts set their own rules, in coordination with the campaigns, including criteria for inclusion.
  • Hill did not make the cut for Tuesday's debate on Fox59/CBS4.
  • Reitenour did not qualify for the Fox59/CBS4 debate or Wednesday's WISH-TV debate.

What's next: One more debate on April 23 โ€” and all six candidates will be included.

  • Primary election day is May 7.

Keep reading for more takeaways

2. Fewer Hoosiers are going to religious services

Share of adults who say they never or rarely attend religious services
Data: Household Pulse Survey; Note:ย Adults who say they never attend or attend less than once a year; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

As Easter weekend arrives, most Hoosiers say they probably won't make it to church service on Sunday.

Why it matters: More than three-quarters of Americans say religion's role in public life is shrinking, per a recent Pew Research Center survey โ€” the highest level since the group first started tracking such sentiment in 2001.

  • Many are unhappy about that, with about half of Americans telling Pew both that "religion is losing influence and that this is a bad thing."
  • About 57% of adults say that religion has a positive impact on American life, per Pew.

By the numbers: 51% of Indiana adults say they never or seldom attend church or religious services, compared to the national average of 49%, according to a Household Pulse Survey conducted Feb. 6โ€“March 4.

  • 12% of Indiana residents attend services 1-3 times a year, 5% attend 4-11 times per year, and 22% attend 12 or more times.

Friction point: Nearly half of U.S. adults say they feel at least "some" tension between their religious beliefs and mainstream culture, Pew found.

Go deeper

3. Pit stop: No gunshot detection tech

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

๐Ÿš” The IMPD will not move forward with the use of gunshot detection technology installed on the east side after an analysis of the system's effectiveness.

  • The test concluded that the technology had little difference in collecting evidence versus if residents called 911. Investigators also cited concerns with reliability, efficacy and potential biases. (IndyStar)

๐ŸŽ“ The Indiana Department of Education is looking to overhaul how students earn high school diplomas. The State Board of Education has given the department the OK to move forward with a proposal that would eliminate most state diplomas and replace them with new requirements. (WFYI)

๐Ÿช– Indiana National Guard members are on the way to Texas to help support the border security mission. A departure ceremony for about 50 troops took place yesterday.

4. Weekender: Easter brunch overload

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Even if Hoosiers don't go to church this Sunday, they still might go to brunch.

Zoom in: Indianapolis is overflowing with Easter brunch options for all ages. Here are a few options to aid your search for the perfect place to fuel up before egg hunting.

๐ŸŽท Gallery Courtyard at Bottleworks Hotel, 850 Massachusetts Ave., will have brunch and live music from local saxophone player Rob Dixon with seating times at 10:30am or 1pm.

  • Tickets are $85 and include a mimosa bar.

๐ŸŸ Ocean Prime will open its doors for brunch from 11am-3pm at their 8555 N. River Rd. location.

๐Ÿฅ‚ Hotel Carmichael at 1 Carmichael Square in Carmel will roll out the buffet lines and carving stations starting at 11am.

  • Tickets are $100 for adults and $45 for children 12 and under.

๐Ÿณ The Alexander, 333 S. Delaware St., still serves brunch from 11am-2:30pm.

  • Tickets are $50 for adults and $18 for children between the ages of 4 and 12.

Here are the rest of our picks for the weekend

5. Indyโ€™s favorite Easter candy

Can't beat the classic. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/Getty Images

While the rest of the Midwest will be searching for peanut butter and chocolate in their Easter baskets, Indianapolis residents prefer to keep it simple.

Driving the news: Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars led Instacart's list of Indy's most-ordered candy during Easter week in 2023.

  • Reese's classic peanut butter eggs came in second, with Reese's peanut butter cups third.

The big picture: Consumers are expected to spend $3.1 billion on candy this year, down from $3.3 billion in 2023, the National Retail Federation's annual holiday survey found.

Between the lines: The Easter Bunny โ€” and consumers โ€” are feeling the pinch of inflation this year with skyrocketing cocoa prices.

๐Ÿฐ Arika is spending the Easter weekend with family in Elkhart.

๐Ÿค  Justin is ready for his wife to play nothing but Beyoncรฉ for the next 72 hours now that "Cowboy Carter" has been unleashed on the world.

๐ŸŒด Lindsey is off.