Indiana’s 7th congressional district is currently represented by Democrat Andre Carson. He’s the grandson of this seat’s previous occupant, Julia Carson. He won a special election earlier this year and won again in November. He seems to have a safe seat.
District 7 seems designed to contain as few Republicans as possible within the Indianapolis metro area. It contains most of Indianapolis. But the wealthier, Republican, neighborhoods are in district 4, represented by Republican Steve Buyer and district 5, represented by Republican Dan Burton.
Perhaps if the Indiana Republicans get control over redistricting, they could put some of the higher income communities into the 7th and remove others. But this doesn’t seem likely, since the GOP would probably prefer to beef up the Republican percentages in the Southern Indiana districts in the hopes of recapturing the seats that they lost in 2006.
Indianapolis used to be a more conservative city, partially because in the 1960s it absorbed the suburban areas to retain conservative voters. A Democrat mayor got himself in trouble on the property tax issue and a tax revolt erupted. Now we have a Republican mayor who served in Iraq. That was one of the few success stories of the GOP during the last few years.
It would probably take a very good year for Republicans to win a seat like this. John Kerry beat George W Bush in District 7 by a 58 percent to 42 percent margin when Bush was beating Kerry statewide by 20 points. So, I’m not sure I want to know how well Obama and McCain did in District 7 two weeks ago. But my guess is that Obama received over 70 percent of the vote here.
This district is somewhat dependent on the automobile industry. I think there is a General Motors plant located within the Indianapolis city limts. This probably explains why some of the local politicians are supporting the Democrat bailout plan.
The GOP shouldn’t give up on this district completely. But I do not expect this district to be on the GOP’s target list, unless the GOP is loaded with campaign cash and wants to spread it beyond the top 25 to 50 most competitive House races.