Winner of Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District to be determined in Saturday’s runoff

Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

By: - April 23, 2021 3:31 pm

Democrats Karen Carter-Peterson and Troy Carter — both veteran lawmakers from New Orleans — compete Saturday, April 24, in a run-off election for representative of Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District. The seat was left open when Cedric Richmond took a job in President Joe Biden’s administration. (Photos provided by the candidates’ campaigns)

Karen Carter-Peterson and Troy Carter, two veteran state lawmakers — both from New Orleans and both Democrats — go head-to-head Saturday in a runoff to fill the open seat for representative of Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District. The seat was left open when Cedric Richmond, who was first elected to Congress in 2010, took a role as senior advisor to President Joe Biden. Polls open at 7 a.m. Saturday and close at 8 p.m.

The 2nd Congressional District, a so-called majority-minority district, stretches from New Orleans upriver to Baton Rouge, and the two candidates have been fighting for votes and endorsements in those cities and points between for the election.

Carter, who grew up on the West Bank in New Orleans, led a field of 15 candidates in the March 20 primary election with 36 percent of the votes cast.  He won 39 percent of the vote in New Orleans, turf that he and Carter-Peterson share.  

Carter-Peterson got 23 percent of the primary vote and prevailed in Baton Rouge, winning 35 percent of the vote there, besting Gary Chambers Jr., a first-time candidate from Baton Rouge  who nearly played spoiler in the primary. Chambers finished a close third in the race, winning 21 percent of the total vote, and he beat Carter-Peterson in New Orleans by 2 percentage points.

The list of people who have endorsed Carter includes Richmond, East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome, Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee-Sheng, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams and Orleans Parish Clerk of Criminal District Court Arthur Morrell.  That list also includes multiple lawmakers in Baton Rouge and multiple lawmakers in Washington, including Rep. Joyce Beatty, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has backed Carter-Peterson as has Chambers, the Baton Rouge candidate who came in third in the primary.  She has also been endorsed by Stacy Abrams, the former Georgia lawmaker and gubernatorial candidate whose organization FairFight is credited with helping President Biden win the state in November.   A flyer from Carter-Peterson’s campaign also lists as supporters U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile and multiple lawmakers who serve in Baton Rouge.

Both candidates ran for Congress in 2006 against incumbent William Jefferson who, despite being the focus of a federal corruption probe, won a trip back to Washington. 

The candidates provided interviews to the Illuminator’s Julie O’Donoghue before the March election.  You can listen to their arguments for their candidacy below.

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Jarvis DeBerry
Jarvis DeBerry

Jarvis DeBerry, former editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, spent 22 years at The Times-Picayune (and later as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of Times-Picayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed. In addition to the shared Pulitzer, DeBerry has won awards from the Louisiana Bar Association for best trial coverage and awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his columns. A collection of his Times-Picayune columns, “I Feel to Believe” was published by the University of New Orleans Press in September 2020.