Monday, February 18, 2008

Politico Takes A Look At Carson's Complex Path

Politico takes a look at the 7th District congressional race and concludes the anointed one faces a complicated path because of his GOP opponent, "an upstart Republican state legislator with a record of recent political upsets," and "a more politically experienced pack of Democratic candidates in the May 6 primary for the November election to a full two-year term." Politico's Josh Kraushaar writes:

The result is an awkward relationship for Carson with his own party, to say the least. While the state and national Democratic establishment have supported Carson as he faces Republican state Rep. Jon Elrod in next month’s special election, they haven’t yet endorsed him in the May 6 primary as he faces three well-known local Democratic officials for the nomination to seek a full term representing the 7th District.

So as Carson campaigns for the seat, he may be receiving as much criticism from some of his fellow Democrats as he is from Elrod. Already, state Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker has issued an implicit warning to the party’s leading primary challengers — state Reps. David Orentlicher and Carolene Mays and former state Health Commissioner Woodrow Myers — to take pains to keep such a negative campaign from hurting Carson’s chances during the special election period.

“The other candidates have been focused on raising money. They’re not doing anything to affect the outcome on March 11, which would not be viewed kindly by other Democrats,” said Parker.

But some of the criticisms have already been made. Mays, the publisher of a leading African-American newspaper, who sought the nomination for the special election, released a poll last month showing Carson defeating Elrod by only 3 points, despite running in the most Democratic district in Indiana. Other primary rivals have signaled that Carson, 33, will be criticized as too inexperienced to serve in Congress.

The concerns about Carson’s electability aren’t just limited to his primary opponents. The cash-flush Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has also pulled out all the stops to make sure the reliably Democratic seat remains in the party’s hands.
Politico thinks that Elrod's candidacy should have Democrats on edge about this race. Krashaar writes of Elrod:

The all-out blitz is attempting to ensure that Carson doesn’t get caught by surprise by Elrod, his Republican challenger, who has a history of scoring some political shockers.

An attorney by trade, Elrod was first elected to the state House in 2006 by eight votes in a solidly Democratic district, unseating a veteran Democratic incumbent who drew the district’s lines to help his own reelection bid. That win followed Elrod’s largely symbolic victory to serve on a township board in a heavily Democratic part of Indianapolis.

But Elrod, who is only 30, sounds less like an up-and-coming political operative and more like a technocrat focusing on serving his constituents. In contrast to Carson, who is running on Iraq, health care and the economy, Elrod said he’s focusing his campaign on “fiscal reform and constituent services” — hardly the ideological gruel on which most congressional campaigns are run . . .

I had no inclination to be in politics. Until recently, I never had been involved in a campaign. I never was a Young Republican; I never even was involved in student council,” Elrod said. His emphasis on getting things done may prove compelling in Indianapolis, a Democratic-leaning city that has shown a propensity to vote for Republicans lately.

Elrod’s state legislative victory in 2006 foreshadowed several GOP upsets to come. Last year, a little-known retired lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps, Greg Ballard, upset two-term Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson despite being outspent 11-to-1 and receiving little support from his own Republican establishment.

And Julia Carson struggled to fend off an underfunded Republican challenger in her 2006 reelection bid, even as three Democrats ousted incumbent Republicans in a huge year for statewide Democrats.

A Democratic pollster who recently conducted polling within the district said that two major issues have played to GOP advantage in recent years: property taxes and rising crime. In fact, Elrod attributed his own win, in part, to the fact that largely working-class Democrats in the city have been willing to split their ballot because of their dissatisfaction with skyrocketing tax assessments.

“To win a legislative district in the heart of Indianapolis from a longtime incumbent Democrat in 2006 in Indiana is no small feat. People have correctly taken notice,” said the Cook Political Report’s House analyst David Wasserman.
And Politico says not to forget Carson's nepotism problem. “Any time you have a candidate that has very little experience but is related to the person he’s looking to succeed, the nepotism issue will weigh in the minds of voters,” Wasserman said. “There is a substantially higher burden of proof for a guy like Andre Carson to assert his suitability and qualifications for this office.” You can say that again. Particularly when you finished 88th out 89 in your law enforcement academy training class for a job as an excise police officer, which your grandma had to pull strings to get for you, as Carson did.


Wilson46201 said...

Despite having an Admiral for a father, didn't your Presidential candidate John McCain graduate dead last in his class at Annnapolis?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Leave it to you, Wilson, to compare the U.S. Naval Academy to a class at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy for town marshals and other wannabe cops. It wasn't even the more challenging Indiana State Police training exam he was taking. Tell me, Wilson, was Sam Carson the 89th out of 89 in that class?

Wilson46201 said...

Dunno - you're the dumpster diver pawing through state employee personnel files...

Anonymous said...

There are two glaring errors in the Politico article. First, the Marion County Precinct Committeepersons offically endorsed Andre Carson for the May 6 primary at the Feb. 16 slating convention. Secondly, this is not the most Democratic disttrict in Indiana. Try looking at the numbers in the first district in Lake County.

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE to see Andréget mad and push Elrod out of the capitol in DC because he "takes gramma seat"

I hear André has a short fuse that can be ignited by someone asking him the wrong questions.

Wilson, you're the dumpster diver. I'll give you something that hasn't been leaked out yet if you tell us Sams placement! It's REALLY good. Even your buddy, AI, won't have access to this info yet!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that is not a Cuba Gooding jr. photo ?
The one on the rightside.


Mike B.

Anonymous said...

Should make the first candidate debate at Jesus MCC on Wednesday at 7 PM even more interesting don't you think?

Anonymous said...

10:47 is spot-on, to a degree.

Although the party endorsed Andre last Sat., there is a large level of discontent about the Special Election. Ask around.

The writer had this part right: nepotism is a hard obstacle to overcome. Andre is a nice enough guy, but that alone won't carry him in the primary, regardless how he does in the Special.

Andre has less government and practical experience than all three of his primary opponents. It's just that simple. Which is why the party should not have endorsed him.

The 7th may be Indiana's fourth or fifth most-Democratic district, after Donnelly's, Viscloskey's, Hill's and Ellsworth's. The best measure of pure party strength is a down-ticket race, and by that measure southern Indiana is still pretty Democratic. They're just very conservatvie on federal races.

As for Wilson's Naval Academy background, ignore him. Most folks do anyway.

And now I've seen it all: Wilson calling someone else a dumpster diver. Priceless.

Anonymous said...

Actually Wilson the Dumpster Diver, he graduated 6th from the bottom of Annapolis and was a decorated naval aviator.

Comparing Annapolis to the ILEA marshal's academy is beyond belief.