January 15th, 2008 14:54 EST
Indiana Voters May Send Second Muslim to Congress
When Andre Carson was a teenage rapper, his stage name was "Juggernaut."
Democrats are hoping that label is prophetic, choosing the fast-rising Carson, 33, on Saturday as their nominee in a special election to fill the 7th Congressional District seat left vacant by the death of his grandmother, U.S. Rep. Julia Carson.
Julia Carson, who served in Congress from 1996 until her death Dec. 15, is a legend in Indiana politics, and Democrats voted Saturday to continue her legacy by backing her grandson.
Andre Carson, a member of the City-County Council since mid-2007 and a former State Excise Police officer, won on the first ballot in the caucus of Democratic precinct committee chairmen and chairwomen. Of the 599 who were eligible to vote, 439 cast ballots. Carson received 223 votes to clinch the nomination in the field of eight candidates.
State Rep. David Orentlicher, D-Indianapolis, was runner-up with 123 votes, and Marion County
Treasurer Michael Rodman was a distant third with 27 votes.
Party insiders, who had packed the Shortridge Middle School auditorium, leapt to their feet cheering as state party Chairman Dan Parker announced that Carson was the nominee for the March 11 special election. The district covers most of Marion County.
"We love you, Andre!" one woman shouted out as Carson bounded onto the stage. "We did it!" a beaming Carson shouted back. "Thank God, we did it!"
Now, he said, "we all have to come together. No matter who you were for, we come together and show Republicans that this is a Democratic seat."
Grandson of legend receives party's nod
Andre Carson seeks unity for special election in March
Mary Beth Schneider, Indianapolis Star, 01/13/08