Interesting race developing for Julia Carson’s (RIP) now vacant congressional seat. Worth a little trip down memory lane for me.
Back in 2004 I decided I needed to broaden my mind a little and try to understand a scrappy group of voters called the Log Cabin Republicans. For those who don’t know, the LCR are gay Republicans. When I found out that a highly respected friend of mine from church was the group’s president I decided I needed to at least try to understand where they were coming from.
After some assurances that I would not take the opportunity to drop molotov cocktails (they can be a little skittish about having vocal Democrats hanging out with them during one of the rare opportunities they have to be totally themselves), I was invited to pop into a couple of local LRC meetings; kept my mouth shut (mostly) and just listened. It was a positive experience, and for what it is worth, I have since decided that the world is lucky to have the group around. I’ll put it this way; while I have my differences with their party, I know it probably won’t be me that convinces this largely Republican state that we deserve equal treatment.
Anyway, part of my ear and eye opening trek included a stop one night at a political LCR candidate meet and greet downtown. Of course, my friend and city councilman Scott Keller was there. And Carl Brizzi, our then soon to be prosecutor, too. He was my main reason for popping in. I had an inexplicable celebrity crush on him.
While I was there a young guy, late 20s, cute and suit-ish was quietly introducing himself to folks. He approached me and said, “Hi, I’m Jon Elrod. I’m running for state representative.”
My first impulse (ignored) was to say, “Awww…look how cute you are?” as if he were a bunny that had wandered near me in the garden. Then his words registered. State rep? Really?
Turns out he was running against long-timer Ed Mahearn (D) for the south Indy District 97 seat. I asked Elrod what he would do differently if elected. To be honest, I don’t even remember his answer. My mind was wandering to some haunting questions: What am I doing here? What if all of these Republican candidates are just faking interest in equality? Am I in danger? It was a paranoid time.
Elrod won that race, barely, and so far it looks like he wasn’t faking his stance on equality. His defense, more or less: Marriage is a religious issue. He doesn’t want government telling him how to do religion. They should bother with civil unions and their availability should not be determined by gender.
Elrod life detes: History major undergrad (theater minor). Now an attorney by trade, but works as a church camp director one week every summer. Has spent some time at Christian Theological Seminary. Methodist. (Am I right? Early 30s and no ring on his finger? God help the yenta in me, but all you single Republicans looking for like-minded dates who aren’t turds, if he’s not otherwise taken, somebody needs to jump on this one. He sounds like a keeper.)
Now freshy is running for Carson’s vacated seat, against Julia’s grandson Andre’ Carson. Both Jon and Andre’ are newbies in their own way, though Elrod has at least his stint as an Indiana Rep to draw on. To be honest, I am a little annoyed that the state Dems didn’t let David Orentlicher, IMO the smartest, nicest and fairest politician in Indiana, run for the seat.
Will the Carson name and Andre’s past jobs and work with his grandmother be strong enough draws to pull the votes on March 11? I don’t get to vote in this special election, but I’m interested to see what happens. Elrod knows how to campaign. We’ll see if Carson does. Elrod’s using a local and fairly young political strategy team. Carson has a DC firm with lots of experience. I don’t know what kind of money is coming to either candidate.
Both candidates make general statements of equal fairness, but I’ve only heard Elrod actually come right out and say our families deserve equal protection, which begs a bigger question:
I realize Democrats in a Republican state have to sit on some prickly fences to survive, but should Democrats be worried when Republicans start to look more inclusive? Keep an eye on the bunny to find out.