According to reports, Democratic Senator Troy Carter will win the special election runoff in Louisiana’s second district.
Carter, a former New Orleans City Council member, was a moderate candidate in the run-off. He ran as a person willing to work across parties. His opponent, democratic fellow state senator Karen Carter Peterson, has a more radical platform.
While the election did not change the balance of power in the house of Representatives, it did fill a seat that had been vacant for months, giving Democrats – who have a narrow majority – a little more breathing space. In this black dominated region from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, the election is also an early test of the Democratic Party’s direction since Biden took office three months ago.
Crucially, Carter won the support of Cedric Richmond, the former congressman he will fill. Richmond resigned in January to join Biden in the White House.
Carter took the lead in the first round last month, with 36 percent of the vote and Peterson 23 percent. With no candidate getting 50% of the vote in that round, the campaign entered the run-off phase under state law.
Louisiana state Sen. Troy Carter, right, speaks in favor of an equal pay bill.
Carter was more willing to accept the flag of the establishment, to shape himself as an effective legislator, and to peddle support from Richmond, South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn, Louisiana teachers’ unions, and the Greater New Orleans Federation of labor and industry.
He will be the only Democrat to represent Bayou state in Congress. The other five congressmen and two senators in the state are Republicans.
In addition to choosing between two different political approaches, voters in the region also determine to what extent gender is a factor. Peterson supports Emily’s list and democratic women who support abortion rights. She will be the first black woman to represent the state in Congress.
This is the latest chapter in decades of political contests, including face-to-face contests in the last parliamentary election. In 2006, both Carter and Peterson competed with then democratic representative William Jefferson, who was under investigation for corruption and would later be convicted. Peterson finished second in the primary and Carter finished fifth. In Louisiana, the top two primaries entered the runoff stage. Peterson lost to Jefferson in the election.