The logistics, including overlapping timelines and various paperwork filing deadlines, has confused candidates to the point where some aren't sure how to proceed.What is beginning to emerge is the very real possibility that some candidates on both sides might forgo the special election process altogether and, instead, focus entirely on winning the party's May primary nomination. "Party leaders on both sides fear that, with no clear frontrunners, they could see one set of candidates vie to fill out Carson's current term and another set compete for the next term and, as a consequence, see party unity crumble," O'Shaughnessy writes.
Complicating matters is the unusually large field of declared and undeclared hopefuls lining up to succeed Carson.
"It's very confusing," said Tom John, the Marion County Republican Party chairman. "It's clear we haven't (held a special election) in 18 years."
The one sure thing, members of both parties said, is that it will take considerable and careful strategizing and campaigning this year to win the 7th Congressional District seat.
It is quite surprising that so few candidates have filed paperwork with the respective parties to participate in next weekend's caucuses to pick the special election candidates. On the Republican side, only former Jerusalem Post publisher Tom Rose has filed with the party despite the fact that State Rep. Jon Elrod announced his candidacy in November and has filed a statement of candidacy with the FEC.
On the Democratic side, only three Democrats have filed paperwork, including City-County Councilor Andre Carson, attorney Randle Pollard and County Treasurer Mike Rodman. All three candidates tell O'Shaughnessy they are actively working committeepersons for support. According to Marion Co. Democratic Chairman Mike O'Connor, other potential candidates attended a recent meeting to discuss the race, including: State Reps. David Orentlicher, Carolene Mays and Gregory W. Porter, City-County Councilwoman Joanne Sanders, former state party Chairman Robin Winston and former health commissioner Woody Myers.
UPDATE: State Democratic Party spokesperson Jen Wagner comments that Pollard has not filed paperwork with the party yet to run in the special election caucus this coming Saturday. You can follow who has filed by clicking here.