According to Louisiana news station WWL, it’s likely that a runoff will decide the next Congressman or Congresswoman from Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional district.
Karen Carter Peterson and Troy Carter will face each other on April 24, according to projections by the news outlet. On Saturday night, Carter received approximately 36% of the votes with 646 of 657 precincts reporting in, while Carter Peterson received 23%.
Fifteen candidates were in the running for the seat that former Rep. Cedric Richmond left to become a special advisor to President Joe Biden as the Director of the Office of Public Engagement. Carter and Carter Peterson, the top vote getters, are both state senators. As they earned less than the 50% of the vote needed to win, the two will have to compete again in the runoff election.
WWL political analyst Clancy DuBus first projected a runoff.
“What we’re seeing here, so far… All night it’s been Troy Carter running in first with close to 40 percent of the vote… Frankly, I’m a little surprised at the gap between the two, but credit Gary Chambers (a Baton Rouge area candidate), who apparently took some votes away from Carter Peterson.”
Carter, the state senate majority leader has Richmond’s endorsement, something he touted as the reason why he’s the better candidate to represent the district.
“I will have the ear of the guy who has the ear of the president of the United States,” said Carter, per Rollcall.com. Carter, who worked with former New Orleans mayor Sidney Barthelemy in the 80s and was a member of the New Orleans city council a decade later, says that his varied experience helps his candidacy as well.
“In congressional halls, relationships matter,” he told Rollcall. “Being able to work with people matters.”
Carter Peterson, also a longtime Louisiana legislator, says she has vast experience with the constituency as well and would be the first Black woman to represent Louisiana in Congress if she ultimately pulls out a victory.
“Black women are the soul of the Democratic Party and have saved our country from Donald Trump,” she said. “It’s time that Louisiana … sent an African American woman to Congress, and I hope to be that person,” she said, per Rollcall.
As reported by theGrio, in an exclusive interview, Carter Peterson said her career choice was inspired by her parents.
“What caused me to go into service, was watching my mom and dad in the service … the legacy of my family is that of being prepared, having a work ethic, giving back to the community and paying it forward,” Senator Peterson told theGrio.
It is not lost on Senator Peterson that the Black elected officials and organizers who mentored her broke barriers across the South and beyond. While she intends to carry the torch, she also seeks to represent a new, bold chapter in American history and the fight for equality.
When former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) refused to expand health care in the state, she challenged him publicly to expand Medicaid for the working class and underserved Louisianians. Today, over half a million Louisianans are now covered by health insurance, have more access to primary care, and pay lower out-of-pocket health care costs.
Peterson’s organizing work in the election of Jindal’s successor, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D), also illustrated Senator Peterson’s influence in Democratic politics throughout the state, as Democrats were able to achieve a decades-long effort to take back the governor’s mansion.
According to the U.S. World & Report, Louisiana currently ranks 45th out of all states in healthcare, 48th in education, and 50th in overall opportunity. Peterson agrees that, despite her district and state being rich in legacy, history, and culture, Louisianans continue to face socioeconomic adversity. She recognizes the promise in progressive policies such as Medicare for All, raising the minimum wage, and federal aid for local businesses for her prospective constituents.
“There is a direct connection between progressive policies, and bettering all Louisianians,” says Peterson.
It is probable that her victory will accrue the allyship of national, progressive voices. She is a good friend of and has received the endorsement of Stacey Abrams, along with several prominent organizations in the progressive space such as Higher Heights, Emily’s List, and Elect Democratic Women.
Peterson was instrumental in organizing around the 2018 Georgia Gubernatorial election as the Democratic National Committee vice-chair for civic engagement and voter protection. When speaking about the support she has garnered from allies across the nation, Senator Peterson says that “a lot of people are in on this because they know the difference that we can make in people’s lives.”
Additional reporting by Jordan Wilson.
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