Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The 7th District Primary Race

I'm hearing a lot of pundits talking today about how Andre Carson faces an even tougher test in the May primary than he faced in his race against Jon Elrod. I've got news for you folks. The race is over. Like it or not, you are stuck with a former congresswoman's grandson who finished 88th out of 89th in his class at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy as your next congressman. It doesn't matter that he is fourth best as the Star characterized him in the crowd of candidates in the Democratic primary. The bottom line is that Carson won 45,000 votes in an election where only about 18% of the voters bothered to show up. Primaries aren't known for big turnouts, and the same people who voted for Carson yesterday will show up in May to vote for him again. Black voters will be united behind him, and they will represent more than half the voters in the Democratic primary in the 7th district. David Orentlicher can spend a million dollars trying to win this race and it won't make any difference because Carson already has a sufficient number of voters in his corner. All of you Democrats who have been complaining to me about Carson and how you were going to take care of him in the primary are going to have to suck it up and live with this man. He's your congressman. You're probably stuck with him until 2012 when, God willing, this 7th District will be obliterated by new and improved boundaries and place this Carson political machine on the ash heap of history where it belongs. The saddest part of this entire ordeal is the fact that Marion County may well wind up losing the service of two of its best state legislators in Jon Elrod and David Orentlicher. And people wonder why good people don't want any part of politics.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with your assessment. David O is a tremendous campaigner but I think Carson is going to be very tough to beat. The only way to beat him would be to run an intensely negative campaign. And I'm not sure that would work. The Carson lead always seems to be about a six solid points that appear to be unshakable.

Anonymous said...

There are hundreds of party loyalists that I know personally who voted for Andre yesterday who will be voting for other candidates in May. Andre's support in the outlying townships is ankle deep and that will be exposed in May. The winner of the May primary will get about 37 - 38% of the vote. With a low threshold, that makes several candidates viable.

Anonymous said...

Gary you have to be kidding me. The turn out for the GOP may be low in primary election, but on the D side we'll see numbers comparable to a general. In case you forgot, we still have that whole Barack/Hillary thing going on. Not to mention the race for guv. There's a lot of reasons David 0 may lose, but turn out isn't one of them.

Mike B. said...

Throw in Obama and the support he will bring for addtional Carson voters - it is a tough nut to crack.

Anonymous said...

No one would beat the Democratic machine - Indy intelligence fled over the borders of Marion County.

Anonymous said...

What distressed me most was that in every campaign picure, newspaper photo, TV news video, etc. 80-90% of the people in Carson's coverage were black.

The 7th Congressional District is 68% white.

I guess this is some of the "change" Carson is talking about. It's obvious who he will be representing.

Wilson46201 said...

Congressman André Carson's election night victory speech:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPfkNUEcH50

Anonymous said...

The people of the 7th District are so blinded by the Carson Machine that they would vote for Jaime Carson if he ran. Fortunately, the Indiana Dept. of Corrections has other plans for him for the next few decades.

Anonymous said...

We don't care Wilson. We haven't received constituent services from the 7th District rep for years. Nothing changes with Andre's temporary election to Congress.

Anonymous said...

I don't really care how well he did in school. As long as Carson votes like his grandmother, I'll be satisfied. Elrod blew this election big-time. Mass mailing anti-abortion flyers in the closing days did him in. Hard to believe he was so out of tune with the voters of this district. His political career is over. Sad, since he really did do a lot for the gay community. Orentlicher's fate remains to be seen.

Vox Populi said...

Gary, I have something for you to consider. With no truly competitive races on the Republican side this May, you should be encouraging your Republican friends to vote in the Democratic Primary.

If you are truly concerned about being represented by Andre Carson, and you feel that David Orentlicher and Jon Elrod are two of the best legislators in Indy, you should vote for David O. on May 6. That would set up a battle of the Titans in November.

God knows David will need all the help he can get to slay Goliath.

Anonymous said...

The talk around town is that, since only the D presidential primary is in play for Indiana, many soft R's are going to snag a D primary ballot to get in on the action. That does NOT bode well for "the seed".

Advance Indiana said...

Sorry, Vox Populi, but I'm a Republican and I vote in the Republican primary to choose my party's candidates as I should. The Democrats foisted this man on us and now they're going to have to live with the consequences.

Anonymous said...

To 8:47 a.m.:

"...as long as he votes like his grandmother...???? A bucket of sand would have a better voting record than the late Congressperson. Yesterday was a bad day for the people of the 7th, in particular for the black community of the 7th. When an unqualified, under-achiever like Carson can win the seat simply due to who his grandmother was, what does that say about the standards we have set for our elected officials?
By the way, Wilson, watching and hearing Andre speak is painful. He makes his late grandmother look like an accomplished orator.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Gary,

I’m usually the one to caution people about being overly optimistic in this type of race. Here I’d caution you from being too pessimistic. If you look at the positives, Elrod is a good candidate who is willing to work very hard. He, unlike many Republicans here in Indy, understands the importance of reaching out to independent minded voters in the district and creating new coalitions. C

arson has a number of negatives and you have a divisive Democratic Primary that is going to bring those negatives to the fore. Elrod got a free shot to get his name in the media during a first go-around. He now has an opportunity to analyze his likely (I agree Carson will probably win the primary) opponent’s strengths and weaknesses before the general election. That’s a huge benefit.

The problem is the Marion County GOP organization has the entire 20 plus years I’ve been involved with it, not known how to run campaigns in a competitive general election environment. We went from dominating the county to, within 1 or 2 election cycles, being dominated by the Democrats in the county. The Marion County GOP has always placed a premium on picking candidates who will go along with whatever the county GOP leaders wanted, even when what they’re doing doesn’t appeal to someone beyond baseline Republicans, and even may turn off independents and swing Democrats. While some of these people were good elected officials, very few would have been good CANDIDATES in a competitive election environment.

While the slating process in theory is good, in practice it quite often breaks down to a situation where party leaders are filling empty positions to stack the process so their favorite candidate wins. (Not every township chairman does this.) A bigger problem though is that slating very often obviates the need for the endorsed candidates to run in a competitive primary. Rather than be a terrible thing, those competitive primaries often result in the better general election candidate emerging with sharpened campaign skills they can use in the fall. The standard assumption that a competitive primary is bad and will hurt the successful candidate often isn’t true at all.

In a separate post, I’ll offer my unsolicited suggestions for the Elrod campaign.

Paul K. Ogden

Vox Populi said...

Well, Gary, if your team had run a better campaign (you know, spelling things right in emails, raising some cash, etc) we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Anonymous said...

"The Democrats foisted this man on us and now they're going to have to live with the consequences.'
No...actually, we are ALL going to have to live with the consequences.

This country just continues its slide into the sewer.

Anonymous said...

Jon Elrod's political career has come to an end. Blind ambition.
Of course his name will be on the GOP ballot in the upcoming primary and he will no doubt be cannon fodder in the general election but for all intents and purposes, his political career ended last night.
The political careers of three other officeholders will end soon too. David O., Mays and Meyers will not come close in the primary against Carson.
Assuming that the Pennsylvania Dem primary even splits delegates then Carson will hitch up to the Obama Machine just as Obama hitched up to the Carson Machine last night. Once the formal marriage takes place after the Penn primary then it's all over.
There will a record turnout in the Indiana primary and the 7th District vote will be overwhelmingly Obama and Carson. The local GOP will stay home aside from the ones who want to get in on casting a vote for history.
Come Fall, McCain will have his doors blown off in Indiana and not just Marion County. The Governor's race will be very closely tied to the Presidential and Mitch will just barely survive.
The 7th District I'm afraid is stuck with Andre for quite some time.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Okay, on second though I decided to pass along my unsolicited advice for Elrod to the candidate himself. In case, the advice actually gets heeded it would be better that it not be in the hands of Democrats who might read this blog.

Paul K. Ogden

Anonymous said...

"Come Fall, McCain will have his doors blown off in Indiana"

You really think Indiana will go Dem in a Presidential year since Johnson's landslide against Goldwater in 1964?

Whatever you're smoking you need to share with the Libertarians.

Anonymous said...

We should be ashamed to send someone with so little intellect or acomplishment to be our Congressional representative. Where is the pride, folks?

tjefferson said...

Dick Tuck, the famed Democratic dirty-trickster, upon losing a legislative race in California in 1964 issued a brief statement: "The people have spoken...the bastards." So they have. Now they shall get the representation they deserve.

Gary, I share your disappointment, but I have to say that Elrod ran a very poor campaign and Carson's operatives ran a very effective one.

Appealing to the right with abortion and gun control pablum was silly at best and strategically insane. Who made these decisions? Who was advising him? Who was responsible for fund-raising?

This reminds me of the Kernan campaign: an incredible good man who ran an incredibly poor campaign.

indyernie said...

"Congressman André Carson's election night victory speech:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPfkNUEcH50"

Andre accepted money from terrorist groups who are supporting the killing of US service men and women in Iraq. Andre Carson has American blood on his hands. There will be a special place in hell for people like Andre Carson and for those who help him. Wilson that includes you. Andre Carson and Wilson Allen are terrorist and traitors.

Joanne J said...

This sucks. This Democrat was so disgusted with the choice of Carson that I voted for Elrod. I think you're right, I think we're gonna be stuck with him for quite some time, which means I'll be voting Republican.

anon 8:47, I'm surprised you got "mass" mailings from Elrod. Really? Like many, I got virtually bombarded with slick negative mailers from Carson. I got ONE nice letter from Elrod.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Advance Indiana, you are so right about the evils of politics! yet, it is a bigger negative to have an idiot as our mayor! Where in the world did Greg Ballard come from and how in the world did we elect such a fool while kicking dishonest Bart Peterson out of office. Honest and fair people simply do not run for political office!

Anonymous said...

"80-90% of the people supporting Carson were Black",
Well, what a surprise, I recall a recent election where some Blacks strongly supported Greg Ballard for mayor! After he was elected Greg Ballard turned his back on the Blacks who supported him and appointed "White" former Bart Peterson supporters to his staff. Greg Ballard turned his back on his Black supporters as soon as he won the election. Do you really think that "any" Black person would trust another Republican politican! Hell No! Elrod can thank Greg Ballard for his recent ass whipping! Never again!

Anonymous said...

Um, 2:08, Wilson never tires of pointing out that Peterson WON the 7th District precincts in the mayoral election last November...by about the same percentage as Andre Carson did. So the difference has to be in the "Dan Burton" fringes of the county. I doubt there are enough African-American Democrats out there in Burton-land to have swung the Mayoral election.

Anonymous said...

I just finished looking at some pretty interesting precinct-by-precinct results, collected from committeemen I know all over the county.

The real turnout is gonna be 20-21%when it's all said and done. Which is pathetic, but better than most expected.

In Center, some precincts turned out 9-11%. In Pike, it hovered around 25-30%. In Washington and Decatur, it was 32-38%.

In the precincts who turn out better, Jon Elrod won or held his own. He lost his shirt in Center.

Do the math. The win was there for him if he'd jsut worked Center a little harder. If he loses the overall township 72-25, just cutting the margin to 2-1 is a huge boost.

Kinda hard to do with abortion and gun control platforms heavily-promoted.

Any two-candidate race becomes a trade-off politically. A multi-candidate race is all about turning out your vote, and picking away a few points from opponents' bases. Andre has nowhere to go but down until May 6 because of all the talented candidates running in the Democratic primary. He will not get anywhere clsoe to 53%.

Those same precincts where Elrod did OK, are swing precincts that vote heaviest in every election.

In multiple precincts, where Elrod won or came real close, he did so with some Democratic votes.

Those votes will, of course, go "back home" in seven weeks.

And do you think most of them are going to vote for Andre? Hell no they won't.

On that basis alone, Andre is in big trouble in May. Two of the other three candidates will siphon some black votes from him. One candidate will not uffer that fate: David O.

David's strong precincts will be his backyard, and he might even hold his own in Pike.

It's a long time until May 6. But Andre has to juggle a Congressional schedule, ambitious fund-raising and a campaign.

Does anyone here think he's up to that big task? I don't.

(Ducking for the sure-to-cone Wilson slam).

Anonymous said...

Any truth to the rumor that Wilson got busted in his own precinct for electioneering inside the polling place?

If he only knew how his fellow Dems in that precinct feel about him.

Anonymous said...

Wilson seems to be untouchable!
He is a thorn in the Democratic Machine, but no one, even Golden Child André Carson, can silence him.

When will he leave for D.C., and quit the CCC?

Anonymous said...

I don't think you could be more wrong. I know SO MANY Democrats who only voted for Carson to keep the seat. You can't possibly believe that the numbers Andre got yesterday will be matched in May.

Additionally, turn out will be huge in May because the state matters.

And as for Barack's support.... don't you think Andre might have to stay on the Hillary bandwagon thanks to Bayh's support of his campaign???

Jon Easter said...

Agreed on David O., but you are actually calling Jon Elrod one of our finest representatives? On what do you base your assessment?

Anonymous said...

5:06, Bayh's a non-issue now in Indiana. Carson will hitch a ride with Obama just as Amos Brown stated recently. Hillary becomes a serious liability after the Penn primary, even more so than she is now.
For someone who stated earlier that Obama could take Indiana in the general election I would agree.
The numbers may not match 1964 (yes, I was around then) but they'll be real close.
McCain cannot turn out the voters so much as he can turn them off.
He's old news with the same GOP Bush agenda. People here won't buy it again. But they won't buy Hillary either. Obama? He's got the best and the brightest around him.
When a guy like Obama can pull the white and black vote equally who's going to beat him? Hell, look at the demographics from some of the cowboy states.
To be perfectly honest with you I think this general election will be like 1980 in reverse.
I don't think Mitch will survive any better than Hillenbrand did in 1980.
However, Carson will tag in with the Obama vote and I look for Obama to campaign with him before the primary.
It will take one helluva a campaign to unseat Carson now. The DCCC will still be running Carson's deal in the primary if that tells you anything.
Elrod may as well drop off the ticket because he's done. Losers seldom get 2nd chances and Elrod lost, and he lost big.
It is not going to be a very good year for Republican's in Indiana.

Anonymous said...

I am going to have so much fun voting this May. *clap*clap*clap* I just can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Wilson, please show us the video of Andre being his true SEXIST self!

Anonymous said...

vox populi - I plan on doing JUST that!!! My vote will help determine who the D presidential candidate will be, I can vote for a D 7th congressional candidate - OH! What fun! (That is IF Beth "Incompetent" White can ever get her act together. Really, how pitiful is this woman!)

Anonymous said...

"80-90% of the people supporting Carson were Black",
Well, what a surprise, I recall a recent election where some Blacks strongly supported Greg Ballard for mayor! After he was elected Greg Ballard turned his back on the Blacks who supported him and appointed "White" former Bart Peterson supporters to his staff. Greg Ballard turned his back on his Black supporters as soon as he won the election. Do you really think that "any" Black person would trust another Republican politican! Hell No! Elrod can thank Greg Ballard for his recent ass whipping! Never again!

AMEN!!!!!!

Advance Indiana said...

anon 2:08 said, "Well, what a surprise, I recall a recent election where some Blacks strongly supported Greg Ballard for mayor! After he was elected Greg Ballard turned his back on the Blacks who supported him and appointed "White" former Bart Peterson supporters to his staff."

You could not be more wrong. First, Greg Ballard received very little support in the black community. His share of the black vote was as low as any Republican has gotten in recent elections. Despite the fact that he ran so poorly in the black communities, Ballard has appointed a number of blacks to key positions in his administration. I don't know how anyone could claim he has turned his back on blacks.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Gary, Ballard got a lot of scratch votes from black voters in the Pike precincts. He didn't win those precincts, but he did maybe 10% better than Republicans typically do in those precincts.