On January 11, the Democratic caucus chose André Carson to run in the March 11 special election. On January 12, the Republicans chose Jon Elrod as their candidate and the Libertarian caucus nominated Sean Shepard.
The district, which covers most of Marion County, is considered difficult for Republicans. It includes most of what was the city of Indianapolis before the creation of Unigov in 1970, and includes most of the more Democratic areas of the county. John Kerry won the 7th district in 2004 with 58%, but after the November 2007 upset of Indianapolis MayorBart Peterson by Republican Greg Ballard, the race was assumed to be competitive. However, in the precincts of the 7th District Democrat Bart Peterson still received 54% of the votes.