Indiana's GOP hopefuls for Senate agree to April debate

(from left) Mark Hurt, Rep. Luke Messer, Mike Braun, Rep. Todd Rokita, and Andrew Takami. All five men threw their hats into the ring to run for the 2018 GOP nomination for U.S. Senate to challenge Democrat incumbent Joe Donnelly.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana's five Republican candidates for U.S. Senate have agreed to take part in a debate next April in Fort Wayne.

Allen County Republican Party Chairman Steve Shine tells The Journal Gazette he's received commitments from each of the announced Republican Senate candidates to participate in a "debate-style program." He says a panel of journalists is expected to ask the candidates questions.

The April 23 event during the local party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner will come two weeks before Indiana's May 8 primary.

The five candidates are: auto parts distributor Mike Braun of Jasper, Kokomo attorney Mark Hurt, U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, and New Albany college administrator Andrew Takami.

They're competing for the GOP nomination to run against Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly in next year's general election.

Terry Henderson, a businessman who works at Down AgroSciences, threw his hat into the ring for the GOP Senate nomination earlier this year, but suspended his campaign in November, according to The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.