Second Muslim elected to Congress

Headed to Washington: "The battle's not over," Andre Carson told cheering Democrats at the Westin Hotel Downtown. "Friends and family, we have to hit the ground running." - Joe Vitti

Democrat Andre Carson won Tuesday's special election to succeed his grandmother, the late U.S. Rep. Julia Carson, and fill out the final 10 months of her term.

Carson's win makes him the first Muslim to represent Indiana in Congress, and only the second Muslim nationwide to serve there.

Carson's 54-43 percent win, with 100 percent of the vote tallied, over Republican state Rep. Jon Elrod, was strong. But it might not have been the type of knockout blow that would fend off the competition he faces in the May 6 primary.

The campaign for that election, a mere 55 days away, begins today.

He now must win the trifecta of not only Tuesday's special election, but also the May primary election and the November general election to win a full term in Congress and be more than a footnote to his grandmother's legacy.

"The battle's not over," Carson told cheering Democrats as he declared victory at the Westin Hotel Downtown. "Friends and family, we have to hit the ground running."

He was speaking about the issues he'll be tackling as the newest member of Congress, including seeking an end to the war in Iraq and spurring new jobs for Indiana. But the words rang true for his political future as well.

The competition will be steep. Three of the seven Democrats who have filed to run against Carson in the May primary election will be well-known and well-financed: state Reps. David Orentlicher and Carolene Mays, and former state Health Commissioner Woodrow Myers. Myers, in fact, is holding a news conference today to preview his TV ads.

While Carson and the Democrats celebrated, Elrod and the Republicans never conceded defeat Tuesday night. Leaving the GOP state headquarters, Elrod said he wouldn't concede until all the votes were counted.

As he left to head home, the 30-year-old Elrod added, he was "too tired" to talk about the whirlwind campaign he'd just been through, or the one he now faces. He has not given up his hope of being the first Republican elected to Congress from this district since 1975 and will be competing against two other little-known Republicans for the GOP nomination in May.

At the Westin, Carson was jubilant.

"We did it! We did it! Thank God we did it," he said, each line punctuated by a roar from the crowd that packed the hotel ballroom. "I want to thank each and every one of you for your sacrifice, hard work and efforts. This isn't about me. It's about you. I'm not going to Congress. We're going to Congress."

He wished, he said, his grandmother, who died of cancer Dec. 15, was there to see this moment.

Someone shouted back: "She is here."

Carson, a 33-year-old who won his first election last year to the City-County Council, called this win an "extremely humbling experience."

"Tonight's victory is a great indicator of the atmosphere of the 7th Congressional District," he said, noting that people want Social Security protected, jobs, health care and, for the troops, an end to the war in Iraq.

And although much has been made of his faith as a Muslim -- as well as the fact that controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was among those who eulogized Carson's grandmother at her funeral -- Carson said his campaign had benefited from volunteers who crossed all age, racial, religious and social backgrounds.

Tuesday's win for Carson was especially sweet for former U.S. Rep. Andy Jacobs. He had been a mentor to Julia Carson and had backed her to replace him when he retired in 1996 and had been the first prominent Democrat to endorse Andre Carson as her successor.

Jacobs had spent much of Tuesday out campaigning for Carson and was among the Democrats who gathered at the Westin to celebrate the win.

"It dries a few tears about his grandmother," Jacobs said.

Among those congratulating Carson was Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, who is hoping to become the first black man elected president and who will be competing in Indiana's May primary himself against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"I know Andre, like his grandmother, the late Congresswoman Julia Carson, will be a tireless fighter for Indiana's working men and women," Obama said in a statement. "I look forward to working with him in Congress to bring our troops home, keep our country and our communities safe, and ensure all Americans have the affordable health care they deserve."

The legacy of his grandmother worked both for and against Carson in Tuesday's election.

Bob Nichols, 56, an airline employee, cast his ballot for Elrod at a Speedway polling site that Elrod visited Tuesday afternoon. The reason, he said, was simple: He wants change.

Nichols said he's had enough of the same names in politics -- whether it's Carsons, Clintons or Bushes -- and thinks it's time for new blood.

But Fran Colston, an 85-year-old voter, said she had always backed Julia Carson and now was happy to vote for Carson's grandson.

"I've been aware of Andre for a long time because of his grandmother. He's a wonderful person. So was she," Colston said. "He's just really interested in people. That's very important to me. He is just down to earth."

Tuesday's elections had few glitches. Seven polling places opened late, two of them more than an hour behind schedule. But all 445 polling sites were open by 7 a.m.



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  12 Comments   Comment

  1. H.A. from Yathrib

    Here we go...Sir Khan can't handle the truth and so itchy...My circle contains NO CIVILIZED FLUIDS, NO SLUTS and NO FAKE or OSTENTATIOUS MUSLIMS...

    Here is a good example of fake Muslims in the WEST I observed during a trip to the WEST...The FAKE Muslim is the leader/President (from PAKISTAN) of the Mosque, but his daughter who works/volunteers at the mosque dressed up somewhat like Britney Spears....Hello!

    WHEN WILL YOU TEACH YOUR daughters to dress in a civilized fashion at least on the Mosque property?

    It is funny how people from PAK ISTAN don't know how to teach their daughters to dress properly when they at the property of the Pak istan (Mosque ground)...yet he is the President of the Mosque...ALL IN THE NAME OF I'M TOO EDUCATED, TOO MODERN.... This could be an isolated incident/family, but Hello!!! you are the PRESIDENT OF THE MOSQUE!!!


  2. khan from US

    To H.A. (Yathrib) ref: 48283


    I hope you and you and your circle of people practice Islam and hadith in FULL,( before U say such comments.

    As long as a person says he/she is a muslim U have to believe and we are not judges to see what kind / level muslims they are.

    You can pray and work on yourself and others to become more practising Muslim, Aameen.

  3. H.A. from Yathrib


    IT IS KIND OF FUNNY HOW MUSLIMS PREACH to non-MUSLIMS about Islam and about becoming a MUSLIM...yet so many of their (Muslims') sons and daughters living like animals in the WEST AND IN THE EAST... they think living like the people of the WEST is a social distinction and a display of pride...VERY SAD!!! PLEASE START to MUSLIMIZE YOURSELF and YOUR FAMILIY FIRST and then preach to others...

  4. ali from usa

    since he is a muslim so he got blessings from Allah to win his election. mashallah

  5. Babandi A.Gumel from U.K

    Have you then considered him who takes his low desire for his god and Allah has made him err having knowledge and has set a seal upon his ear and his heart and put a covering upon his eye.Who can then guide him after Allah.Will you not then be mindful? And they say: There is nothing but our life in this world;we live and die and nothing destroys us but time and they have no knowledge of that ;they only conjecture. So that is the unfortunate situation of people like Romesh who made his desire (wine women etc)as his gods which is very unfortunate. Anyhow we should never give up our dutiful effort of inviting mankind towards Allah including hard hearted people like Romesh.We hope one day his heart would be softened may be one day he would see the light through God's Infinite Guidance then he would realise his folly.People like Sayyadina Umar was more than Romesh in opposing the Muslims Islam and the Prophet in particular.

    As we all knew he hang his sword with the sinister intention to kill the Prophet but God in His Infinite Mercy decided to favour him with Islam in the end he became Muslim and became the Second Caliph after Abubakar (R.A).Due to his good and exalted position and qualities the Prophet said if there were to be another Prophet after him it would have been Umar.So Romesh everyone likes you to see the truth including Brother Roger Smith and yet you insist and continue to reject that truth but one day hoepefully you will be guided to the right path.Again May Allah give you guidance this is all that we can say and let our brothers and sister help us in saying Amen.

  6. Romesh Chander from USA

    Note to Roger Smith:

    So, you want me to become a muslim. Well, I love the decadent lifestyle -- wine, woman and song; all these are prohibited in Islam.

    Sorry. I prefer the 'heaven on earth' that I know of than 'hell' afterwards which I don't know nothing about.

    A bird in hand is better than two in the bush. Why take chances.

    Seduction of Scoth is just too much.

  7. khan from US

    Dear Roger Smith

    Please extend your honest invitatation to alland people like your thinking will have more effect as you know that Islam is a religion of peace and FINAL TESTAMENT not only to muslims but ALL MANKIND.

    Adam pbuh was the first man and Prophet. He was mentioned in all Books of God-Allah(Bible, Torah and Quran). Adam and Abraham preached Monoaethism and prayed to ONE GOD-ALLAH. We all are the Children of Adam and Eve.

  8. Babandi A. Gumel from U.K

    In support of what Brother Rogers Smith mentioned

    Romesh should read more about Islam than just sitting on the fence being sacarstic about it.Any

    way guidance is from Allah we pray for his guidance but I think it only comes when one is willing to submit which I doubt if Romesh is ready right now.Allahu A'alam yet we don't give up hope we have to continue giving him da'awah even if his heart is like that of Abu Jahl who was always willing to find fault with the Deen not necessarily objective despite all the good signs which Romesh has seen on this Universal interesting Web Site that has been attracting him and many like him.

  9. Roger Smith from Canada

    To: Brother Romesh Chander, you are a regular in this forum, you know brother you should be a muslim so you can defend it better that many other muslims with you knowledge and writing power given as a gift from God. I am sending you this invitation please read more about Islam in this site and like many others become Muslim in this site and be a Muslim in your heart and accept Islam as the religion. May Allah softens your heart and make you a muslim.

  10. khan from US

    U.S.- MUSLIMS as U.S. Politicians

    Congratulations to newly elected U.S.Muslim Congressman.

    US is an immigrant country and all human beings are equal irrespective of faith-religion, race, gender, color, age and so on.

    No matter what,the politicians must have good ethical-moral values, religious values and apply in their lives and actions not disccriminating anyone based on some issues.

    Islam is the best religion that has values and rights for everyone irrespective of any issue. Please read the Quran with translation and Hadith, you will find the truth.

  11. Hyat from Canada

    Keep them coming may God give you guidance and knowledge to lead and be a benefit to mankind.

  12. Romesh Chander from USA

    Another Muslim elected to US Congress. Great. Now what percentage of people in his district are muslims? Not many. It means that he was elected by non-muslims.

    I thought people in US were Islamophobes? May be nobody knows what does this term mean?