Carson Appears to Be the Winner in Special Election to Fill His Grandmother’s Seat

Posted March 11, 2008 at 9:37pm

Indianapolis City-Councilor André Carson (D) appears to be moments away from fulfilling a family legacy, leading Tuesday’s special election to fill his late grandmother’s House seat. The late Rep. Julia Carson (D-Ind.) died in December following a battle with lung cancer. With about 73 percent of precincts reporting, Carson was ahead of state Rep. Jon Elrod (R), 53 percent to 44 percent, according to a tally by The Indianapolis Star. Alhough Carson had an advantage in name recognition and money – Elrod was outspent nearly 7-1 in the special contest – political observers had a tough time predicting Tuesday’s outcome. While traditionally a Democratic district, Republicans also had become increasingly hopeful about taking the 7th district seat after they captured the Indianapolis mayoral office from a two-term Democratic incumbent in November. The cash-strapped National Republican Congressional Committee, however, was not hopeful enough to kick in any of its precious funds into the race. By contrast, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee invested $257,000 and added Carson to its “Red to Blue” program, despite the mostly urban district’s tradition of electing Democrats to Congress. But Tuesday is not the end for either Elrod or Carson. Both candidates have their respective party primaries for the full term on May 6. The winners of those contests will compete in the November general election. Elrod’s primary is not seriously contested, but Carson faces three competitive Democrats: state Rep. Carolene Mays, state Rep. David Orentlicher and former state Health Commissioner Woody Myers. – Shira Toeplitz