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Troy Carter, Karen Carter-Peterson looking for an edge in runoff election

In a district driven by Democrats and African Americans, Troy Carter won 36% of the votes. Karen Carter Peterson came in second with just under 23%.

NEW ORLEANS — Coming off an election weekend in Louisiana, the race to fill the state’s 2nd Congressional District seat is now a runoff.  

From a field of 15, Democrats Troy Carter and Karen Carter Peterson are the two candidates left standing in the race.

The winner will replace former Congressmen Cedric Richmond who left the office to join the Biden administration.

“Campaigns are always about building, and so this is round one, and you just keep building,” Karen Carter Peterson said on election night.

“We understand that the clock resets, and now we go out, we start talking, we start energizing,” Troy Carter said on election night.

“It’s a brand-new campaign, a brand-new election,” University of New Orleans Political Scientist Ed Chervenak said.

In a district driven by Democrats and African Americans, Troy Carter won 36% of the votes. Karen Carter Peterson came in second with just under 23%.

Through a grass roots and strong social media campaign, community activist and political newcomer, Gary Chambers, earned 21% of the vote and came very close to knocking Carter Peterson out of the race. Ed Chervenak says that’s impressive, considering Chambers is from Baton Rouge.

“The most surprising thing I found was Gary Chambers won Orleans Parish on election day. So, it was early voting that assisted Troy Carter and Karen Carter Petersen to get in the runoff,” Chervenak said. “Chambers represented something new, a new face, a new generation. Those that showed up on election day favored that new aspect.”

In an unconventional election year with a pandemic, Gary chambers was the unconventional candidate. Now, the two remaining candidates will be vying for his endorsement.

“I think if you take a look at the numbers closely, you see what Gary chambers did, he ran a great race, right? There’s a lot of alignment in values on positions. There’s a lot of alignment in values on positions on the green new deal, on medical for all, which I’m for,” Karen Carter Peterson said.

Troy Carter didn’t address Chambers’ performance on election night. Carter says he has the relationships with Washington D.C. that can help the district in Louisiana.

“When you think of 535 members of congress and they’re all competing for resources, those who have better relationships are those who have a better shot at bringing resources home. I’ve got a head start in that regard,” Carter said.

Both candidates now have 22 days to bring home a victory. The runoff is set for April 24. 

In the other congressional race this past weekend, Julia Letlow became the first Republican woman from Louisiana to be elected to Congress. She’ll be representing the 5th Congressional District. Her husband, Luke Letlow, won that seat last year, but died from covid just a few days before he was to be sworn into office back in January.