Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: March 2008, 3rd full term.

Born: October 16, 1974, Indianapolis

Home: Indianapolis

Education: Concordia U., B.A., 2003, IN Wesleyan U., M.S., 2005

Professional Career: Investigator, IN State Excise Police, 1996-2005, Investigator, IN Dept. of Homeland Security, 2006-08.

Ethnicity: Black/African American

Religion: Muslim

Family: married (Mariama) , 1 children

Democrat André Carson won his seat in a March 2008 special election to succeed his grandmother, Julia Carson, who died in office after representing the district for nearly 11 years. A hard-working and occasionally outspoken liberal, Carson is rising in the ranks of both the House Democratic Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus.

As a child, André Carson studied religion. Originally interested in the priesthood, he later converted to Islam and became the second Muslim elected to Congress, following Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison. Carson also had an artistic side. He wrote poetry as a young man and performed as a rap artist under the name “Juggernaut.” But his career took him into law enforcement. He got a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice management from Concordia University and a master’s degree in business management from Indiana Wesleyan. Carson spent nine years as a plainclothes officer of the Indiana Excise Police, which enforces alcohol and tobacco laws. “I loved law enforcement,” he told Esquire magazine in 2010. “But this job sure beats sitting and waiting for something bad to go down at three in the morning.”

He recalled that his political interest began in 1984, at age 10, when he attended the Democratic convention in San Francisco and heard civil rights leader Jesse Jackson speak. Carson said that his thinking was transformed by reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and he attended Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March in 1995. In 2007, at age 32, he won a seat on the Indianapolis City-County Council, his first elected office.

After Julia Carson died in December 2007 following multiple and lengthy illnesses, her grandson faced significant opposition for the Democratic nomination in the special election to fill the remainder of her term. At the January 2008 Democratic caucus, he won with 223 of the 439 votes; state Rep. David Orentlicher, a lawyer and doctor, got 123 votes, and Marion County Treasurer Michael Rodman came in third with 27 votes.

Against Republican state Rep. Jon Elrod, a young lawyer, Carson received extensive assistance from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. On issues, he called for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, endorsed tax cuts for working families, and said that companies should have incentives to keep them from sending jobs overseas. Elrod emphasized aid to small businesses and tougher enforcement of immigration laws, and he called for an end to federal spending earmarks. Carson won, 54%-43%.

Meanwhile, Carson had to continue campaigning for a May primary to determine the winner of a full term. That field included Orentlicher, former state Health Commissioner Woodrow Myers, and state Rep. Carolene Mays. Running as the incumbent this time and with an endorsement from presidential candidate Barack Obama, Carson won the primary with 47% of the vote to 24% for Myers, 20% for Orentlicher, and 8% for Mays. In the contest for a full term, Elrod won the GOP nomination, but he soon withdrew and ran unsuccessfully to retain his seat in the state House. Carson has faced minimal opposition since then.

In the House, Carson has established a liberal voting record. He was named a senior whip on Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s team in 2013 and given a seat on the Armed Services Committee. He also took over as the black caucus’ secretary. Though he has a reputation for thoughtfulness, his biting rhetoric has sometimes gotten him in trouble. At a town hall meeting in August 2011, Carson said that some members of the tea party movement in Congress would love to see blacks “hanging on a tree.” A year later, he caused another uproar on the right when he said at an Islamic convention: “America will never tap into educational innovation and ingenuity without looking at the model that we have in our madrassas, in our schools, where innovation is encouraged, where the foundation is the Koran.” He later clarified his remarks by saying that faith-based schools of all religions were models for public education to follow. Before the final vote on the health care overhaul in March 2010, he drew national attention by contending that angry protesters outside the Capitol hurled racial epithets at him and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a leader of the civil rights movement.

Legislatively, Carson in 2011 added language to defense bills to provide military service members with mental health assessments before and after deployment as well as to provide soldiers and their spouses with financial counseling. As a member of the Financial Services Committee, he included a provision in a predatory lending bill in 2009 to ensure information on foreclosure rules is provided to low-income, elderly, and minority homeowners. He also introduced a bill letting newly released prisoners have their disability and Medicaid benefits reinstated.

Carson initially opposed the $700 billion bailout of the financial markets in 2008 but switched his position after Obama encouraged him to support it. At home, he worked with Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., to have the Housing and Urban Development Department block the sale of a notorious and deteriorating Indianapolis apartment complex from one out-of-state owner to another. He also spoke out against a 2011 bill in Indiana’s legislature calling for a tough immigration law modeled after Arizona’s.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4011

(202) 225-5633

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2453
Washington, DC 20515-1407

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4011

(202) 225-5633

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2453
Washington, DC 20515-1407

DISTRICT OFFICE

(317) 283-6516

(317) 283-6567

Julia M. Carson Government Center Suite 300
Indianapolis, IN 46205-4258

DISTRICT OFFICE

(317) 283-6516

(317) 283-6567

Julia M. Carson Government Center Suite 300
Indianapolis, IN 46205-4258

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(317) 226-9400

PO Box 1863
Indianapolis, IN 46206

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 1863
Indianapolis, IN 46206

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Acquisitions

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Agriculture

Omair Mirza
Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Omair Mirza
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Banking

Andrea Martin
Senior Policy Advisor; Staff Counsel

Budget

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Andrea Martin
Senior Policy Advisor; Staff Counsel

Commerce

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Erica Powell
Legislative Assistant

Andrea Martin
Senior Policy Advisor; Staff Counsel

Education

Erica Powell
Legislative Assistant

Energy

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Andrea Martin
Senior Policy Advisor; Staff Counsel

Environment

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Family

Erica Powell
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Andrea Martin
Senior Policy Advisor; Staff Counsel

Foreign

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Govt Ops

Omair Mirza
Legislative Assistant

Gun Issues

Erica Powell
Legislative Assistant

Health

Erica Powell
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Housing

Andrea Martin
Senior Policy Advisor; Staff Counsel

Immigration

Erica Powell
Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Internet

Omair Mirza
Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Erica Powell
Legislative Assistant

Medicare

Erica Powell
Legislative Assistant

Military

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Privacy

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Public Works

Andrea Martin
Senior Policy Advisor; Staff Counsel

Recreation

Omair Mirza
Legislative Assistant

Rules

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Small Business

Andrea Martin
Senior Policy Advisor; Staff Counsel

Social Security

Erica Powell
Legislative Assistant

Tax

Andrea Martin
Senior Policy Advisor; Staff Counsel

Technology

Omair Mirza
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Omair Mirza
Legislative Assistant

Trade

Andrea Martin
Senior Policy Advisor; Staff Counsel

Transportation

Andrea Martin
Senior Policy Advisor; Staff Counsel

Omair Mirza
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Nathan Bennett
Legislative Director

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
André Carson
Votes: 162,122
Percent: 62.85%
Carlos May
Votes: 95,828
Percent: 37.15%
2012 PRIMARY
André Carson
Votes: 34,782
Percent: 90.35%
Bob Kern
Votes: 2,048
Percent: 5.32%
2010 GENERAL
André Carson
Votes: 86,011
Percent: 58.9%
Marvin Scott
Votes: 55,213
Percent: 37.81%
2010 PRIMARY
André Carson
Votes: 26,364
Percent: 89.05%
Bob Kern
Votes: 2,150
Percent: 7.26%
2008 GENERAL
André Carson
Votes: 172,650
Percent: 65.08%
Gabrielle Campo
Votes: 92,645
Percent: 34.92%
2008 PRIMARY
André Carson
Votes: 66,659
Percent: 46.52%
Woodrow Myers
Votes: 33,683
Percent: 23.5%
David Orentlicher
Votes: 29,231
Percent: 20.4%
Carolene Mays
Votes: 11,011
Percent: 7.68%
2008 SPECIAL
André Carson
Votes: 45,668
Percent: 54.0%
Jon Elrod
Votes: 36,415
Percent: 43.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (59%), 2008 (65%), 2008 spec. (54%)

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