Indianapolis City-County Councilmember Andre Carson emerged victorious this morning as the winner of the Democratic Caucus to become the nominee for special election for the 7th Congressional District. He won a field of eight candidates with 50.7 percent of the vote. He had 223 of the 439 votes cast.
The second place finisher, David Orentlicher had 123 votes or 27 percent and he plans to run in the May 6th primary. The rest of the candidates were in double or single digits.
I think the big challenge for Carson will be to unite his party behind him. Getting 50.7 percent of the vote means 49.3 percent of the delegates wanted someone else. Carson’s biggest problem will not be him, but the Democratic establishment which backed him and as some candidates and precinct committeemen griped to me personally the establishment force fed Carson down the throats of the rest of the party. Some of that opposition may try to unite behind a primary challenger.
If Carson can unite his party, he will have won half the battle. His next big challenge, if he wins the May primary, will be to fight voter complacency. There is a sense that because his last name is Carson and the the 7th District is primarily Democratic, that he will automatically coast to victory which could lead to a lower voter turnout and perhaps a result no one would have ever expected.
The special election will be held on March 11. Republicans will slate their candidate tomorrow night at the State Fairgrounds. Libertarians will officially nominate their candidate later this week. The likely nominee will be small businessman and local anti-property tax activist Sean Sheppard.
7:30 p.m. Update – The Libertarians tonight did select Sean Sheppard to be their candidate for the 7th Congressional District. He will be formally nominated later in the week.