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Indiana: 30-Year-Old Lawmaker Wants to Oust Carson

State Rep. Jon Elrod (R) has announced his candidacy for the seat currently held by Rep. Julia Carson (D).

“The problems before us are not insurmountable, but they require active engagement and a revolt against the status quo,” Elrod said in a statement last week. “Because I think I can offer this active leadership we so desperately need, I announce my candidacy for the 7th Congressional district.”

Elrod, 30, won his legislative seat in November 2006. Hoosier State political observers say he proved his electability in that race, beating the Democratic state lawmaker who redrew the district maps in 2001.

Although the 7th district has been considered safe for Democrats in the past, Republicans’ gains this year in the Indianapolis area and Carson’s health problems have left some political observers believing the seat could be competitive.

Most recently, Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson (D) lost a bid for his third term to Republican Greg Ballard, who had significantly less campaign cash.

Although Carson, 69, initially told the media this summer that she planned to run for re-election, she recently expressed in a local radio interview that she was uncertain about her political plans.

Carson recently extended her leave from Congress until mid-December to recover from surgery for an infection in her leg that was treated in September, according to her office.

Carson has underperformed other Democrats on the ticket in her district, including receiving 54 percent of the vote compared with Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) 58 percent in 2004.

— Shira Toeplitz

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