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Republicans and Democrats have chosen their respective nominees in the special election to fill the 7th district seat, which was recently left vacant by the death of Rep. Julia Carson (D).
Democrats chose Andre Carson, the late Congresswoman’s grandson, while Republicans picked state Rep. Jon Elrod to face off in the March 11 special election to represent the Indianapolis-based district.
Democratic precinct leaders picked Carson, a city-county councilman, with 223 votes out of 439 cast on Jan. 12. The runner-up, state Rep. David Orentlicher, had 123 votes, followed by Marion County Treasurer Michael Rodman and state Rep. Carolene Mays with 27 and 26 votes, respectively.
“Congratulations to Andre Carson on his victory,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said in a statement shortly after the vote. “Mr. Carson is a strong leader, building on his grandmother’s work on behalf of the people of Indianapolis. Mr. Carson is a committed advocate for Indiana’s 7th District and will be a great asset to the Democratic Majority.”
Republicans voted the next day for Elrod, who won with 198 votes out of 232 cast in a field of otherwise unknown candidates.
“The Republicans in the Seventh Congressional District were unified in their support for Jon Elrod,” Indiana Republican Party Chairman Murray Clark said. “Jon will work hard and run a vigorous campaign and we look forward to victory in March.”
Whoever wins the special election in March will serve out Carson’s unfinished term through the end of the year. While the district has traditionally voted for Democrats, a surprising win by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard (R) in November gave Republicans new hope of being competitive in the district.
Meanwhile, a separate election to fill the seat for a full term in the 111th Congress is under way. Elrod’s victory this weekend means that he also is his party’s endorsed candidate for the spring primary; however, some Democrats who declined to run in the caucus or lost to Carson will run in the May Democratic primary.
— Shira Toeplitz