Troy Carter elected to U.S. Congress

Will represent Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District

By: and - April 24, 2021 9:36 pm

Louisiana state Sen. Troy Carter delivers a victory speech to supporters who gathered at the Sugar Mill in New Orleans after Carter won the 2nd Congressional District election on Saturday, April 24, 2021. (Wes Muller/LA Illuminator).

Louisiana State Sen. Troy Carter won Saturday’s runoff election for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, defeating opponent state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson. According to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s unofficial results, with 100% of precincts reporting, Carter won with 55 percent of the vote to Carter Peterson’s 45 percent.

Saturday’s special election to fill the seat left open when Cedric Richmond took a position in President Joe Biden’s administration was the only thing on the ballot, and turnout was only 17 percent, lower than an already low 18 percent turnout in the March 20 primary.

Both of the veteran Democratic state lawmakers are from New Orleans, but Carter — as he did in the primary election — bested Carter Peterson on their home turf.  He also had especially strong showings in Jefferson Parish and several of the River Parishes.  In Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. James parishes, Carter won at least two-thirds of the vote. He also won 63 percent of the vote in Assumption Parish and 64 percent in St. John the Baptist Parish.

Carter Peterson had her strongest showing in East Baton Rouge Parish, where she won 65 percent of the vote. She also won West Baton Rouge, Ascension and Iberville parishes.

“This was a hard fought race, and now it’s time to come together,” Carter said in his victory speech at the Sugar Mill on Convention Center Boulevard in New Orleans. “I want to be clear: I welcome everyone to our tent because this election is over, and now it’s time to get to work…You deserve a voice in Washington, and I pray that I never let you down.” 

Speaking from Central City Barbecue in New Orleans, Carter Peterson told her supporters that she had called Carter to congratulate him and pledge her support. “I will continue to shake things up to get things done,” she said “and we will get things done in this city, working collaboratively with our new congressman, because that’s what it takes, that’s what we’re supposed to do.”

Louisiana state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson gives a concession speech after losing a runoff to represent Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District to state Sen. Troy Carter. (Photo by JC Canicosa / Louisiana Illuminator)

So now I’m not going to be called ‘Congresswoman,’ and that’s okay,” Carter Peterson said. “I can still do a lot in the role that I have ”

The 2nd Congressional District, a so-called majority-minority district, stretches along the Mississippi River from New Orleans East to Baton Rouge, encompassing parts of 10 parishes and much of Louisiana’s industrial corridor — known by many as “Cancer Alley” because its concentration of industrial facilities has been linked to high rates of cancer among the mostly Black residents who live there.

Carter, who grew up on the West Bank in New Orleans, was first elected to the state House in 1991, and then served two terms on the New Orleans City Council. After spending more than a decade away from public office, Carter was elected to the state Senate in 2016.

In his victory speech, he promised to keep fighting for marginalized communities, particularly LGBTQ, and promised “true environmental justice,” saying he will work to stop harmful carcinogens from polluting the communities of the River Parishes.

“We’re going to clean your air, clean your water and protect your economy,” he said.

In the March 20 primary election, Carter led a field of 15 candidates with 36 percent of the votes cast.

Both candidates ran for Congress in 2006 against incumbent William Jefferson, who was reelected despite being the focus of a federal corruption probe.

Carter had Richmond’s endorsement in the election to fill his seat. Carter also was endorsed by 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.

Editor Jarvis DeBerry contributed to this report.

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Wes Muller
Wes Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Much of his journalism has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and coverage of municipal and state government. He has received recognitions including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus and a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his two sons and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is an award-winning journalist at The Louisiana Illuminator. Canicosa has previous experience at Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.

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