Max Becherer / The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate via AP
Baton Rouge, Los Angeles (Associated Press) – On Saturday, Democrat Troy Carter won the special election for the vacant Louisiana seat in the US House of Representatives, defeated his fellow Senate and ended a bipartisan clash.
Carter easily defeated Karen Carter Peterson in the race for Louisiana’s only Democratic seat in Congress, giving victory to the more moderate side of the party after Peterson firmly established herself in the progressive camp.
The senatorial couple had only modest differences in policy to distinguish them, and race was mainly centered on personality. But Carter had the support of seat predecessor Cedric Richmond.
The Second District seat – which represents a predominantly black district centered in New Orleans and extends the Mississippi River to Baton Rouge – was open because Richmond left the position shortly after winning last year’s election to serve as special advisor to President Joe Biden. Richmond Carter, a former New Orleans city councilor, endorsed the race.
Peterson, the former chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party, was the first black woman in the state to be elected to Congress if elected.
Carter and Peterson reached the run-off on Saturday after emerging as the highest vote-holders out of 15 candidates in the primaries in March. Carter raised more campaign money in competition.
The state’s two senators disagreed more than on substance, even though Peterson has positioned herself as the most liberal candidate. In one of the second round discussions, Peterson described herself as “bold and progressive” and willing to “change things up to get things done”.
Carter is best known for his ability and willingness to work across party lines, while Peterson is more overtly partisan in her approach. She suggested that Carter is approaching Republicans to bolster his campaign, while saying that Peterson’s dogmatic approach hurt her ability to pass legislation.
“In order to get things done, they need to send someone to Washington who can build bridges, not walls, and who can create relationships that mean something, not throw stones because you don’t get what you want, and you don’t throw lies because you said Carter in a debate.” Listen, I showed. Willingness to work with people. “
Both candidates supported an increase in the minimum wage, legalization of recreational marijuana and abortion rights. They supported changes in how police and public safety agencies were funded and dealt with, although Peterson went further, saying they support “complete restructuring”.
“This system was not built to protect black people,” she said. “We can’t just fix the police. We need to re-imagine public safety.”
Both Carter and Peterson said they support the “Medicare for All” idea. But as Peterson embraced the shift to a government-run single payer plan, Carter said he would like people to have the option to keep employer-funded coverage.
During the campaign, they traded accusations.
Carter Peterson beat her missed votes in the Louisiana Senate.
Peterson criticized the campaign for donations that Carter received from people and entities linked to the oil and gas industry. It made support for “environmental justice” for poor communities facing greater health risks from pollution one of the main pillars of its campaign.
Carter attacked Peterson for suggesting that she helped found the Medicaid expansion program in Louisiana, which was initiated by Governor John Bill Edwards and did not require any legislation. He noted that when she was president of the Democratic Party, she discouraged Edwards from running for governor.
All of them have promoted high-ranking endorsements.
Peterson garnered support from voting rights advocate Stacy Abrams, Progressive Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell, among others.
In addition to Richmond’s endorsement, Carter has the support of No. 3 House Democrat Leader James Clairn of South Carolina, New Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams and every black member of the state Senate alongside Peterson.