By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Carmel

1. 5th CD money war

Here are your Tuesday power lunch talking points: Money continues to spill into the 5th CD race. Republican Victoria Spartz announced her campaign raised $1.1 million in the third quarter. It follows Democrat Christina Hale who posted $1.7 million last week. Hale has raised more than $3.1 million, while Spartz has raised $2.3 million, of which around $1 million was from the candidate.

Spartz didn't release any particulars, but said, “I am particularly humbled by the thousands of small donors who contributed to our effort because they believe that the election is important, our country is worth fighting for, and the we need more people with real world experience in office and fewer self-serving career politicians.” Hale cited 14,000 unique donors, of which 89% were $100 or less.

The Cook Political Report cited 11 races it is watching, with the 5th CD among three open seats. Should Hale win, it would be the first time the 5th has flipped from the GOP in more than three decades. HPI's Horse Race rates the 5th CD a "tossup."

2. ACB Senate grilling

Judge Amy Coney Barrett began what is scheduled to be 11 hours of testimony this morning. Sen. Charles Grassley asked her if she has committed to President Trump or anyone else that she will vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act if confirmed to the Supreme Court. “Absolutely not,” Barrett responded. “I was never asked, and if I had been, that would have been a short conversation.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked about President Trump's talk of delaying the election. "Well, senator, if that question ever came before me, I would need to hear arguments from the litigants and read briefs and consult with my law clerks and talk to my colleagues and go through the opinion writing process," Barrett said. "So if I give off the cuff answers, then I would be basically a legal pundit, and I don't think we want judges to be legal pundits. I think we want judges to approach cases thoughtfully and with an open mind." Barrett refused to say whether she agreed with the late Justice Antonin Scalia, for who she clerked for, when he dissented in the 2015 decision that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry. Barrett said she has “never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference” and that “like racism, I think discrimination is abhorrent.” 

3. Holcomb calls for 'surgical' COVID response

With COVID-19 hospitalizations up 65% since Sept. 19, Gov. Eric Holcomb told WANE-TV, “Specifically, in certain areas, surging in some areas, we need to be able to surgically address that and we need to underscore that point that our actions in actions have consequences whether they are good or bad consequences,” Holcomb said. He added that he may rejoin the weekly Wednesday COVID pressers. “There are thoughts on extending that. We’ll make that decision this Wednesday.”

4. Indy sets homicide record ... in October


It's early October, and Indianapolis has set a new homicide record at 160. IMPD investigated 154 criminal homicide cases in all of 2019 and 159 a year earlier — the city’s previous record high. IMPD Deputy Chief Craig McCartt: “I wish I knew what was causing it because if I did, we could certainly find solutions and put some of those things to work. It’s interesting because it’s not unique to Indianapolis. If you look at other large cities across the country, homicide rates are up in some places by 100%. Unfortunately, being up by 50 to 75% isn’t at all unusual around the country right now.”

5. Fed funds flow to farmers

New York Times: For the American farmers whom President Trump counts on for support, the government money is flowing faster than ever. Federal payments to farmers are projected to hit a record $46 billion this year as the White House funnels money to Mr. Trump’s rural base in the South and Midwest ahead of Election Day. The gush of funds has accelerated in recent weeks as the president looks to help his core supporters who have been hit hard by the double whammy of his combative trade practices and the coronavirus pandemic. According to the American Farm Bureau, debt in the farm sector is projected to increase by 4 percent to a record $434 billion this year and farm bankruptcies have continued to rise across the country. 

Have a great day, folks. It's The Atomic!