Political observers close to the district say Carson’s under-performance can be attributed to two things: redistricting, which made her district somewhat less Democratic, and her health problems.
Since being elected in 1996, Carson has battled a number of ailments, including heart disease (she had bypass surgery in 1997), high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes. In 2004, she missed almost a third of the House roll call votes and fell seven points shy of Kerry’s mark.
Carson’s health concerns have prompted some local Democrats to call for her retirement. Possible successors being mentioned are state representatives Carolene Mays and Gregory W. Porter; Robin Winston, former Indiana Democratic Party chair; Woodrow Myers, a former state health commissioner; and Carl Drummer, a Center Township trustee. Another name being tossed around is the incumbent’s grandson, Andre Carson, who recently won a seat on the Indianapolis’ city-county council.
The elder-Carson, though, defused speculation late last month that she would step aside. According to the Indianapolis Star, Carson told a group of reporters that she is committed to running again in 2008.
If Carson stays true to her word, she should be a lock for her party’s nomination. “You don’t challenge the queen, unless you know the queen is definitely gone,” said Brian Howey, a political analyst for Indiana’s Howey Political Report. “I think there is a sense that if there is an overreaching, [a challenger] could pay the price.”
CQ Politics notes Carson's fundraising efforts to date have been anemic, having raised only $8,500 as of the June 30 filing deadline. Jen Wagner, Indiana Democratic Party communications director, tells the publication Carson doesn't need to raise much money in her district to win. "The Congresswoman has a different district, and hasn’t relied on fundraising,” Wagner added. “It is a small-compacted district, and she has a great grass-roots network.” She also tells the publication Carson is "well liked" in her district.
The Democratic Party has to think very little of the people of the 7th District to expect us to return Carson to Congress for yet another term in her condition. Would someone in the Democratic Party please stand up and tell her it's time to go?
Hat tip to Blue Indiana for catching this article.