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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Battle for the 7th Congressional District

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Incumbent Democratic Congressman André Carson was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in early 2008 as part of a special election. Carson, the grandson of the late Congresswoman Julia Carson, won his first full term in Congress in November of 2008 and was reelected twice, in 2010 and 2012.

During his time in office, Carson, who represents Indiana’s 7th District, has served on several congressional committees including, the House Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of which he is a ranking minority party member.

Rep. Carson is said to have helped greatly improve the quality of life for Indianapolis residents. In 2009, he voted to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a multi-billion dollar economic stimulus package that increased federal spending and directly impacted the 7th District, which is in the majority of Marion County, by introducing grants that allowed for the hiring of more law enforcement officers and the creation of hundreds of new jobs.

Most recently, Carson sponsored newly introduced legislation geared toward improving military readiness, protecting loans for underserved students, and halting foreclosures. He has also lent his support to President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which is geared toward positively impacting the lives of young men of color across the nation.

Rep. Carson said it has been a “tremendous honor” to serve the state of Indiana. “I’m so humbled by the opportunity the people of the 7th Congressional District have given me – I take this job very seriously.”

Carson notes that some of his personal career highlights have included saving the Amtrak facility in Beech Grove and having two bills signed into law by the president, a process that usually takes a Congressman 10 to 20 years, that he was able to accomplish in only five.

Although recent data show that voter turnout is expected to be significantly low at the polls this year, Carson hopes Indianapolis residents will still make an effort to have their voice heard during the primary election on May 6.

“I know right now the American people are fed up with politics, they’re fed up with the Democrats fighting and the Republicans fighting,” said Carson. “But I want people to know they have someone in D.C. who is really fighting on behalf of their interests, someone who can speak boldly to their needs.”

Not unlike any other political contest, this race has seen its fair share of controversy as pundits and fellow politicians have spoken out against Carson’s comments likening the tea party to Jim Crow. Mmoja Ajabu, one of the most outspoken candidates running against Carson in the Democratic primary, has openly criticized the congressman’s support of same-sex marriage among other issues.

“We live in a free and open society and the founding fathers were wise enough to set up a system that allows people who have their own opinions and own views to participate in the process, to be critical of the process, and to engage in the process. I think that’s what a democracy is all about,” said Carson.

When asked about his thoughts on some of his competition’s less than favorable public remarks, Carson said there is a distinct difference between disagreeing and being disagreeable. “We don’t have to be vile. We don’t have to be ruthless or disrespectful – my focus is not to allow myself to be manipulated by people who are critical of me and who may also have another agenda or who may even be backed by opponents of my success.”

Joel Miller, chairman of the Marion County Democratic Party, said that he is looking forward to re-electing Carson and sees him as a “rising star” in Washington.

“There is no question the congressman is head and shoulders a better candidate, a better politician, and a better person than the people he is running against,” said Miller.

The May 6 primary places Carson up against eight other candidates, all vying to represent the 7th District, making it one of the most highly contested races in this election.

Other Democratic 7th District candidates are:

Mmoja Ajabu

Ajabu, a community activist and former commander-in-chief of the Black Panther Militia, is running for Congress for the second time. Rev. Ajabu graduated with a master of divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center in 2004 and was once the minister of social concerns for Light of the World Christian Church under the leadership of Bishop T. Garrott Benjamin.

Curtis Godfrey

Curtis Godfrey, a self-proclaimed ‘Fact-tivist’ is a 2014 Democratic candidate seeking election to the U.S. House to represent the 7th Congressional District of Indiana. The financial sales brokering entrepreneur and Army veteran is an Indiana University graduate where he earned a master’s degree in political science and paralegal studies.

Pierre Quincy Pullins

This year marks the fourth time Democratic candidate Pierre Pullins has appeared on the ballot for the 7th District. The IUPUI graduate and former National Guard service member has run in the 2006, 2008 and 2010 primary elections.

Republican candidates

There are five Republicans running in the GOP primary for the 7th District nomination. They are:

Wayne “Gunny” Harmon

Wayne Harmon, a former Marine Corps gunnery sergeant, is a Republican candidate seeking to represent the 7th District. Harmon currently serves the city of Indianapolis as a parole agent with the Indiana State Parole Services. Prior to accepting this position in 2007, he worked two years (2005 to 2007) as a probation officer with the Marion County Probation Office.

Erin Kent Magee

Republican Erin Magee is not only a congressional candidate in the state of Indiana, but is running for the Senate in Tennessee while also seeking a spot on the congressional ballot in his home state of Florida. On his website, magee4congress.blogspot.com, Magee states that if elected he will fight for legislation that will lower corporate tax rates and continue to voice his support for the use of butanol, a gasoline substitute.

J. D. Miniear

Miniear, a northern Indiana native, is a Republican candidate seeking to represent the 7th District in Congress. He is described as a pro-growth Reagan conservative. Miniear’s political involvement includes serving as president of the Indiana Republican Assembly and becoming a member of the EMP Coalition, an organization of which former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is a part of.

Catherine “Cat” Ping

Catherine Ping is a Republican candidate for Indiana’s 7th District. The former U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel and entrepreneur is an Indianapolis native who graduated magna cum laude from Northwood University in 1995 with a degree in business.

Gordon Smith

Iraq war veteran Gordon Smith is seeking the Republican congressional nomination in this year’s primary election. Smith, who is a licensed practical nurse and lifetime member of the National Guard Association, is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education from Indiana University. Smith’s community involvement includes serving on the board of directors of the Indianapolis Housing Agency and being a member of the Indianapolis Committee on Foreign Relations.

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