Brad Carson

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Brad Carson
BradCarson OfficialPortrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2005
Preceded by Tom Coburn
Succeeded by Dan Boren
Personal details
Born (1967-03-11) March 11, 1967 (age 47)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Julie Carson
Religion Southern Baptist

Brad Rogers Carson (born March 11, 1967) is an American lawyer and politician from the state of Oklahoma who currently serves as the Under Secretary of the Army. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2005.

Background[edit]

Carson was born in Winslow, Arizona. His father worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the family moved around reservations in Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina and Kansas. As a teenager, Carson moved back to Oklahoma, where his family had deep roots in the Cherokee Nation historical reservation.

Carson was a top student at Jenks High School and won a National Merit Scholarship to attend Baylor University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He became the first student at Baylor to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 75 years. As a Rhodes Scholar, Carson went to Trinity College, Oxford, and earned a second B.A.(which became an M.A. a few years later) in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. He attended the University of Oklahoma College of Law, graduating at the top of his class in 1994. According to the Almanac of American Politics, Carson had originally intended to attend Yale Law School, only to change his mind while at Oxford.

After graduation from the University of Oklahoma, Carson took a job at a prestigious Oklahoma law firm, Crowe & Dunlevy. In 1996, his firm was awarded the Exceptional Contribution to Legal Services Award by Legal Services of Eastern Oklahoma.

Election to Congress[edit]

In 1997 Carson was selected as a White House Fellow, where he was assigned to The Pentagon as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense.

An enrolled tribal member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, he was elected, as a Democrat, to the United States House of Representatives in 2000 from Oklahoma representing the 2nd Congressional District, located in the northeastern part of the state. He defeated Republican Andy Ewing with 55 percent of the vote.[1] The seat came open after three-term Republican Tom Coburn gave it up to honor a self-imposed term limit.

After redistricting changed the political composition of his district to be much more favorable to a Democratic candidate, Carson was reelected in 2002 with nearly 75 percent of the vote.[2]

During his tenure in Congress, Carson was generally seen as a moderate Democrat. He was a member of the conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition.

On October 10, 2002, Brad Carson was among the 81 House Democrats who voted in favor of authorizing the invasion of Iraq.

2004 U.S. Senate election[edit]

In 2004, Carson sought the open U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Don Nickles. Although he easily won the Democratic nomination, he faced a tough general election contest with Coburn, who had won the nomination by an unexpectedly large margin. Carson described himself as a Conservative Democrat. Carson distanced himself from the national Democratic Party on most public policy matters. He portrayed himself as more moderate than his Republican opponent. Coburn, by contrast was one of the "true believers" in the 1995 Republican House freshman class and its Contract With America. This race was considered one of a handful of competitive races for the U.S. Senate in 2004.

By many accounts, the 2004 U.S. Senate campaign between Carson and Coburn was one of the most partisan races of that year. Coburn and Carson both presented themselves as supporting the traditional definition of marriage as "a union of one man and one woman" in the gay marriage debate. Although registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in Oklahoma by almost 2 to 1, most Oklahoma Democrats are quite conservative by national standards.[3]

Coburn claimed that a vote for Carson was a vote for Democrats such as Tom Daschle, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ted Kennedy. Carson was also hampered by George W. Bush's tremendous popularity in the state (the John Kerry campaign made virtually no effort in Oklahoma). In the November election, Coburn defeated Carson by a large margin, 53 percent to 42 percent. While Carson trounced Coburn in the 2nd District, Coburn swamped Carson in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and the closer-in Tulsa suburbs. Coburn won the state's two largest counties, Tulsa and Oklahoma, by a combined 86,000 votes — more than half of his overall margin of 166,000 votes.

Despite Carson's loss, election analyst Stuart Rothenberg called the Carson campaign one of the four best run campaigns in the nation in 2004. The Weekly Standard called him "The Perfect Democrat"[4] After the election, Carson wrote an article for The New Republic which was the subject of much discussion.[5]

Post-Congressional work[edit]

Brad Carson addresses his Veterans Advisory Committee (2004).

After the 2004 Senate election, Carson's term in the United States Congress expired on January 3, 2005; Carson was succeeded by Dan Boren. Carson indicated that he had no immediate plans to seek political office. In January 2005, he accepted a semester-long teaching fellowship specializing in U.S. politics at Harvard University. Upon leaving Harvard, he returned to his hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma, and worked as Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Nation Businesses, which is owned by the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in Catoosa, Oklahoma. As an expert in Indian law, Carson oversaw one of the largest businesses in the state, with thousands of employees, hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and more than a dozen in-house lawyers who specialized in Indian law and corporate law. In December 2008, Carson left his post at Cherokee Nation Businesses to deploy to Iraq as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy. He was officer-in-charge of weapons intelligence teams embedded with the U.S. Army's 84th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion in the nine southern provinces of Iraq; the teams worked with EOD teams at seven bases and investigated bomb sites, caches, smuggling routes, and other activities related to improvised explosive devices. For this work, Carson received, among other awards, the Bronze Star. On his return, he was elected to the board of Cherokee Nation Businesses.[6]

In January 2010, Carson assumed a position as professor of business and law and director of the National Energy Policy Institute, a non-profit energy policy organization funded by billionaire George Kaiser's family foundation, and located at The University of Tulsa.[7][8]

Carson had met Barack Obama in 2004 when they were both nominees of the Democratic Party for open seats in the United States Senate. Carson endorsed Obama in 2006 in the 2008 presidential election.[9] Carson served as Obama's personal representative in the approval of candidates for delegates from Oklahoma to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Oklahoma was the first state to name its complete delegation to the 2008 Democratic Convention. He has contributed journalism to The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, Blueprint, and Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. In 2010, Carson contributed to a symposium[10] issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, in which he was one of ten writers (including Martha Nussbaum, Michael Sandel, and others) discussing the future of progressive political thought and politics. He is the author of several other works, including a guide to federal appellate practice, a work co-authored with Judge Robert Bacharach (who has been nominated by President Obama to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals).

Carson's wife, Julie, serves on the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. They live in Claremore, Oklahoma.[11]

Return to politics[edit]

Official portrait of Brad Carson as General Counsel of the Army (2012).

In June 2011, U.S. Congressman Dan Boren announced that he would not seek another term.[12] Carson announced shortly thereafter that he would seek to win back his former seat.[13] Despite this announcement, he later announced that he would not seek his old seat after all.[14]

Obama Administration[edit]

On September 14, 2011, President Barack Obama nominated Carson to serve as the General Counsel of the United States Department of the Army.[15] The United States Senate confirmed Carson by unanimous consent on December 17, 2011.[16]

On January 6, 2014, President Obama nominated Carson to be Under Secretary of the Army, to replace Joseph W. Westphal, who had been nominated by President Obama to be the United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.[17] On February 12, 2014, Carson was confirmed by the United States Senate [18] and he was sworn in as the 31st Under Secretary of the Army on March 27, 2014. [19]

Electoral history[edit]

Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district: Results 2000–2002[20]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2000 Brad Carson 107,273 55% Andy Ewing 81,672 42% Neil Mavis Libertarian 6,467 3%
2002 Brad Carson 146,748 74% Kent Pharaoh 51,234 26%
Oklahoma Senator (Class III) results: 2004[20]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2004 Brad Carson 596,750 41% Tom Coburn 763,433 53% Sheila Bilyeu Independent 86,663 6%

References[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tom Coburn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district

2001–2005
Succeeded by
Dan Boren