State Senators Troy Carter and Karen Carter Peterson Will Compete in Runoff Election for LA US House Seat


Tonight, state Senators Karen Carter Peterson and Troy Carter received the most votes out of a field of 15 candidates in Louisiana’s second congressional district race. Another reliable source, Dave Wasserman with The Cook Political Report has also made this projection. Because no candidate obtained over 50 percent of the vote in the special primary election, Carter and Peterson will compete in a runoff election set for April 24. Carter, who positioned himself as a pragmatist, endorsed by former Congressman Cedric Richmond, leads the field with approximately 36 percent of the vote. Peterson, who is projected to come in second with approximately 23 percent of the vote, positioned herself as the more progressive candidate, endorsed by voting rights activist Stacey Abrams. Baton Rouge-based civil rights activist Gary Chambers Jr. who was endorsed by well-known activist Shaun King, will place a respectable third place with approximately 21 percent of the vote at the time of this article being published. The remaining candidates received a relatively negligible share of the vote. The results are largely in line with expectations based on the campaigns’ internal polling. However, Chambers seems to have defied expectations running a close third behind state Sen. Peterson.  

In the runoff election, Sens. Peterson and Carter will vie to replace the seat left vacant by Congressman Cedric Richmond, who went on to work in President Biden’s White House as a senior advisor, having served as a U.S. Congressman since 2010. While Richmond was not an unpopular congressman, many progressives leveled pointed criticisms against him, concerning what they saw as his poor record on the environment, especially the lack of attention given to the residents of “Cancer Alley” and his having taken at least $128,000 from chemical companies. Despite this, Congressman Richmond remained relatively popular in his district, sponsoring over 90 bills during his tenure, and becoming a leading voice on issues of police reform and accountability, and COVID-19 relief in 2020. 

Notably, with Chambers garnering 21 percent of the vote total, his endorsement will be key in the runoff election between Sen. Peterson and Sen. Carter. The question remains whether Chambers will decide to endorse a candidate or remain out of the picture altogether. Should Chambers endorse a candidate, his endorsement may have a significant impact on the race. 

Peterson has a history as a state senator, and also served as the chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party from 2012 to 2020. She was previously a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, representing the 93rd District from 1999 until 2010. Peterson considers herself a progressive, supporting both a $15 minimum wage, and the Green New Deal. In addition, she supports Medicare for All and assisted Louisiana Gov John Bel Edwards in getting Medicaid expansion for Louisiana. 

Carter, who was endorsed by The Advocate, was the first Black candidate ever to be elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives from the 102nd District (Algiers). He has supported canceling student debt up to $50,000, and he supports a public option for healthcare if Medicare for All is off the table. 

Gary Chambers, although coming in third, like Sen. Peterson, led a highly progressive campaign. Shaun King described Chambers as, “…the revolutionary candidate we need.”

Both runoff candidates have vowed to address the concerns of the residents of Cancer Alley by taking a more aggressive stance against petrochemical companies.

While the runoff will ultimately decide the final candidate, New Orleans and the surrounding area will remain in Democratic hands, whoever should win.

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