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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Carson Wins Special Election - Will Become 2nd Muslim in the House

Andre Carson, the Democratic candidate for his late grandmother Julia Carson's 7 th District seat in the House of Representatives, defeated Republican challenger John Elrod in a special election held on Tuesday.

Carson garnered 54 percent of the vote in Tuesday's election, compared to 43 percent for Elrod. The Libertarian candidate received the other 3 percent.

Julia Carson passed away in December 2007, and the special election was needed even though it causes some complicated issues for everyone involved.

Despite the outcome in the special election, both candidates will be running in their respective party's primary in May. Neither Carson nor Elrod will have an easy time as there are numerous challengers for each nomination.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen
issued a statement congratulating Carson on his victory.

“I am grateful to the Congressional Black Caucus, Senator Evan Bayh and
Indiana’s Democratic Congressional Delegation for encouraging the people of this district to vote for change by supporting Andre Carson," Van Hollen said.
Carson, will become the 2nd person elected to the House of Representatives who has openly declared following the Muslim religion. Very little was mentioned of this fact during the campaign for the special election.

Carson, whose grandmother raised him in a Baptist church,converted to Islam more than a decade ago and will join Rep. KeithEllison, D-Minn., as the only Muslims in Congress. His religious identityhas drawn little attention during the campaign, and Carson says he doesn'tbelieve it hurts him politically.

"I'm a proud Hoosier," Carson said after his speech Tuesdaynight.
"I'm an Indy 500 Hoosier, I'm a Covered BridgeFestival Hoosier, I'm a Black Expo Hoosier, I'm a state fair Hoosier. I justhappen to be a Hoosier of the Muslim faith."

In an interview with WISH-TV in Indianapolis on Wednesday morning, Carson said that his swearing in ceremony will be tomorrow and will be small. No mention was made of whether Carson will use the Koran instead of the Bible as Rep. Ellison did when he took office.