CNN/TIME AllPolitics Vote '96

AllPolitics Top 40 Races: Part V

INDIANA 10: Virginia Blankenbaker (R) vs. Julia Carson (D) Central Indiana -- Indianapolis

TIME Election Guide: Indiana blankenbaker

Although retiring Democratic Rep. Andrew Jacobs Jr. won 15 terms in the Indianapolis-dominated district, the Republicans have a credible nominee for a seat takeover, one of few such apparent opportunities in the North.

Polls have shown the Republican, former state Sen. Virginia Blankenbaker, with a lead in her race against Democratic Center Township Trustee Julia Carson.

But even the Republican candidate's aides discount one recent poll that showed her winning by as much as 21 points.

"I don't believe that for a second. There's no way we're 21 points ahead," said Blankenbaker campaign manager Jim Knoop.

Both candidates hold liberal views on such social issues as abortion, gun control and the death penalty. Blankenbaker is taking a harder tack on crime to differentiate herself from Carson, highlighting her support for "three-strikes" sentencing and saying that Carson is too soft on drug criminals.

Blankenbaker launched her fall campaign with a radio ad that calls Carson "an advocate of big government for decades."


Carson, a former state legislator who administers relief programs in her current job, is unapologetic about her belief in the power of government to affect good. She contends that spending money on education, particularly in the area of computer learning, is cheaper and more productive than building prisons.

The Indianapolis district is about 30 percent African-American, but has never sent a black to Congress. Carson, who is black, hopes to change that history, and she is nonpareil at registering and turning out voters in the center city.

Energizing that constituency may not be difficult for Carson. Black residents are still enraged about an Aug. 27 police brawl in downtown Indianapolis, in which both black and white residents were beaten or accosted, that is the subject of a grand jury investigation.

Jacobs has been stumping the district hard for Carson, his former aide, and she should benefit from a strong anticipated urban turnout for Clinton. But Blankenbaker is well-known and liked in the inner city. She also has ammunition in store for a planned negative campaign about Carson's handling of a still-troubled township office. No clear favorite.

© 1996, Congressional Quarterly Inc. All rights reserved.

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