Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Star (Not) On Top of 7th District Congresssional Race

The Star's Mary Beth Schneider gives us a rundown of the 7th District Congressional race. It tells us something about the personalities of the many candidate running in both parties' primaries. But if you're looking for any substantive discussion of the issues to help you decide who you support, forget it.

Schneider begins the story by telling us "[n]oone has come close to beating U.S. Rep. Julia Carson. Ever." Some of her previous opponents might quarrel with that a little bit, beginning with her first opponent Virginia Blankenbaker (R) who held her to just 53% in her first race in 1996. Nonetheless, her winning record hasn't detoured four other Democrats from challenging her in the primary and four Republicans from vying to run against her.

Carson faces the "first openly gay person" to seek a congressional seat, Kris Kiser, Schneider informs us. But Kiser assures us he is not running against Carson. "[T]he issues of the day, the needs of Indianapolis, warrant a new voice and a new energy" is why he's running. Schneider makes no mention of our earlier discovery that Kiser, who only moved to Indianapolis a little more than a year ago to run for the seat, still claims a homestead exemption on his D.C. residence. That would have required a little research on Schneider's part, something she obviously spent little time doing for this story.

Republican Eric Dickerson, who is running for office the first time, "is driving a 45-foot RV up and down Indianapolis streets trolling for votes." "I used to land airplanes on aircraft carriers at night in the Marines. For me, it's no problem," Dickerson said. What he lacks, though, Schneider says is the backing of the Marion Co. Republican Party.

Marion Co. Chairman Mike Murphy reserved the honor of the party's blessing to none other than former city-county councilor Ron Franklin. "I don't use drugs. That's never been an issue with me," he said. That was Franklin's response to a series of criminal arrests. As Schneider informs us:

He pleaded guilty in 2001 to a misdemeanor of criminal recklessness for firing a handgun at an occupied truck. He was acquitted of a felony drug charge in 2000 after police found cocaine in his car and also was acquitted in 1998 after marijuana was found in his car. In both cases, Franklin said the drugs belonged to others.

Murphy reassures us that this is no problem. "People make mistakes. They pay for their mistakes. Ron Franklin faced some tests and came through stronger and a better person." Yeah right.

As to the other candidates (and they are a colorful group of candidates), they can be summed up in one paragraph:

Also running against her is Bob Hidalgo, who ran for Congress in 1998 as Bob Kern against U.S. Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind.; Pierre Quincy Pullins, Indianapolis, making his first run for elective office; and Joseph Charles Stockett III, who has a history of anti-Semitic statements and was convicted in 1976 of setting fire to a Planned Parenthood office in Oregon.

Thinking of how much she could accomplish if the Democrats were in the majority, Carson tells Schneider, "If I was in the majority, oh my God!" And Carson is getting tired of those pesky rumours her opponents keep spreading about her health. No, she didn't go to Holland for cancer treatment. She was just inspecting dikes and flood control projects.

And what about the issues? Well, they didn't make it into the story. Better luck next time.

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