Monday, January 28, 2008

Star Takes A Crack At 7th District Race

It's a front page story and it takes up a lot of column space, but if you're looking for a good, substantive analysis of what his happening in the 7th District's special election you won't find it in Brendan O'Shaughnessy's story in the Star today. Not surprisingly, the Star is censoring any mention of Democrat Andre Carson's ties to the controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who endorsed Carson's candidacy during his grandmother's funeral at which he was invited to speak by the Carson family. Carson's list of advisers, according to the story, include Rep. Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis; county Auditor Billie Breaux; state party Vice Chairwoman Cordelia Lewis-Burks; and Melissa Lear-Fisher.

O'Shaughnessy's list for Elrod surprises those of us who attended the 7th District caucus because some of the people O'Shaughnessy lists were actively working for Elrod's opponent, Tom Rose. O'Shaughnessy lists GOP Chairman Tom John; attorney David Brooks; Superior Court Judge David Certo; state party Chairman Murray Clark; and Elrod's former campaign manager, Robb Greene. Yes, Robb Greene has always been a close adviser to Elrod and a good one at that. Most local Republicans are chuckling, though, at the notion that either Murray Clark or David Brooks are doing anything to help Elrod. At the same time, O'Shaughnessy suggests those two and Tom John are helping him, he writes, "Elrod, a member of the state House, so far has not received any money or promise of help from the party's fundraising apparatus." The state party is allowing space for Elrod's campaign to work in the state headquarters so I guess Clark is doing something to help him. Don't worry, the rest of us fighting to win back the 7th District for the people will take care of the money for Elrod.

Carson is using a D.C. consultant, Alex Zwerdling, to run his campaign. Zwerdling is former union organizer for the Hotel & Restaurant Employees union. Elrod's campaign is using Kyle Kasting, who works with the local consulting firm known as Maverick Strategies. Elrod says he hopes to raise $300,000 for the special election effort alone. "I think I come across mostly as an outsider," Elrod said. "I'm not as well-connected in my party as he is in his." The DCCC has targeted the 7th District race, unlike the Republicans. Elrod cites that as evidence the Democrats believe Carson is highly vulnerable.

The most humorous part of O'Shaughnessy's story is Carson's contention that he is prepared for the job. "In less than six months, Andre Carson has gone from being a State Excise Police officer to a City-County Council member, an engineering firm marketing executive and now a candidate for his grandmother's congressional seat," O'Shaughenssy writes. That says it all. Working on his grandmother's campaign is hardly the experience 7th District voters are looking for in a candidate. O'Shaughnessy notes Elrod's flair for drama. "In a recent tryout for a community theater production, Jon Elrod won the part of Felix, the neat and organized half of 'The Odd Couple,'" O'Shaughnessy writes. "He thought he could have played Oscar, the sloppy character, but cast members and directors thought he fit the bill for the tidy and methodical role."

There's some talk of issues, as well. The story provides this very brief discussion of how the candidates feel on some issues:

What's your position on a withdrawal timetable for Iraq?

• Democrat Andre Carson: I support a responsible redeployment plan to end the war in Iraq and bring our brave men and women home with honor. It is time for the Iraqis to take responsibility for their security, with benchmarks for Iraqi military and political success along with a responsible timeline to bring our troops home.
• Republican Jon Elrod: Like everyone in America, I want our troops home as soon as possible. I do not support an arbitrary timetable. I will listen to the generals on the ground.

What should we do about illegal immigration?

• Carson: America's immigration system is broken and nothing has been done in Washington to fix it. In Congress, I will fight to secure our borders and make sure the laws on the books are enforced. Employers who break the law must be held accountable. I am against amnesty and believe that consideration of how undocumented immigrants can earn the opportunity to become citizens must include paying a fine, paying all back taxes, and not having an advantage over those who have entered this country legally.
• Elrod: I support enforcing the laws on the books. If the nation needs more labor, the solution is to increase quotas; not amnesty or guest worker bills.

What's the best way to get the health care problem solved?

• Carson: In Congress, I will take the lead to create and invest in solutions that would make sure every American has access to affordable, quality health care. This includes ensuring that all children have health care by expanding programs like the State Children's Health Insurance Program, passing a prescription drug plan that truly works for our seniors, and working across the aisle, and with states, to invest in pilot programs to find out what works best to lower costs and increase coverage.
• Elrod: Our third party-payer system has caused the ever-increasing health care costs. The long term solution is to create competition through health savings accounts, non-profit insurers, and public pricing.

What would your economic stimulus plan look like?

• Carson: Between property taxes, gas prices and health care costs, the working families of Indianapolis are not able to keep their heads above water right now. We need to figure out ways to put cash back into the pockets of working Hoosiers. The first thing I will do is to create real tax relief for the middle class, rolling back the Bush tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and companies that send jobs overseas, and putting these savings into tax cuts and rebates for working families. I would also like to see an increased investment in job creation for our state and nation, including a focus on the new energy economy and national security, which would bring good jobs back here to Indianapolis and create long-term stability.
• Elrod: I support a tax cut, paid for with spending cuts, that would lower the business and personal tax rates to below the average European tax rates.


Sean Shepard said...

I was very surprised to see the article in the paper as no one from the Star had contacted me.

In response to the issues part of the discussion, we're just getting started but some details are available at

Anonymous said...

"Carson: America's immigration system is broken and nothing has been done in Washington to fix it."

I wonder how hard the previous 7th district congressperson tried to fix it ?

indyernie said...

"Carson: America's immigration system is broken and nothing has been done in Washington to fix it."

I hope Andre isn't just a talking head.
Andre have you denounce LF yet?
We are waiting for your response.

Sure is quiet without Wilson’s babble. It’s rather pleasant.

Bart Lies said...

Hmmm, right out of the box, Andre "Kid" Carson hires a DC consultant to devise an election campaign.

Elrod hires a local firm.

I can see we're getting off to a good start.

Anonymous said...

Oh, he's here. Just wait.

Anonymous said...

Love it....Andre is running to protect the welfare crowd and make sure they are taken care of.....that is a pretty high number of votes. They will vote for a bottle or pack of cig.....and don't forget the ride to the polls.

Anonymous said...

I must admit, Carson has a wonderful script, as well as Elrod. Hmmmmmmmm! I think we should contact Simmon from American Idle.

Anonymous said...

That Murray's a great guy! Virtually all that was offered Eric Dickerson was 'office space'. It takes money to win a race. If just a little money had been given to Dickerson's campaign in 2006, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Murray got millions in GOP money for three congressional races that the GOP lost. A very winnable race(the 7th district) was completely neglected.
These guys didn't even get on board the Ballard bandwagon until a few weeks before the election. The state and county republican parties are being led by poll-driven defeatists. They won't offer Elrod a dime until very late in the process, and only if the polls say that it's a close race.

Anonymous said...

"These guys didn't even get on board the Ballard bandwagon until a few weeks before the election. The state and county republican parties are being led by poll-driven defeatists."

I think you mean "after" the election. Nobody within the leadership gave a crap until the party at the Murat, and the results were in. We even managed to take a majority on the CCC in spite of the leadership.

Anonymous said...

Will someone please explain to me airhead's comment that this election is not about legacy but about tradition? Isn't that just a distinction without a difference? Can anyone imagine airhead's being selected without his ties to the late Julia?

Anonymous said...

AI: Can you find out why the Marion County Republican Party removed 2 year board member Frank Otte just hours before today's election board meeting. Otte had no warning and was not told until noon today. Word is that he was seen as not being partisan enough and the party wanted someone who would toe their line regardless of whether it was the right thing to do from an election administration standpoint. Otte would do his partisan thing when neded, but always acted with the best interests of voters and the process when the rubber hit the road. Can you find anything out?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:37 You are a complete idiot and probably live in Greenwood.

Anonymous said...

Otte was going to support the Election Board's decision today regarding the Mar. 11 Special Election.

He had even participated in its drafting.

Basically, the Board decided they dind't have time to put the scanning equipment in all 450-plus preicncts Mar 11., and then get them back and reprogram them for the May primary. So, on Mar. 11, you'll vote on the same kind of paper ballot, and it will be takekn with all others from your precinct, to one or more secure counting sites.

Because a previous county clerk bought these decrepit scanners and we cannot afford good ones, this is the only way to do it.

TOm Jhon was on TV immediately after the Election Board meeting, decrying Beth White as having violated federal law. Which is course she hasn't.

Does Ton John need meds?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:57 these machines are excellent machines which are easy for the voter to use and leave a paper trail.....the bad ones are the ones purchased for the handicaped voters........The clerk you refer to has just been appointed to a major position by Mayor Ballard

Anonymous said...

I haven't visited this site in literally weeks. It is like a soap opera, nothing really changes: the same people are in love with the same people and the same people hate the same people. Kinda comforting in the world with declining stock market and rising oil prices.