BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Democrat Troy Carter won Saturday’s special election for Louisiana’s vacant U.S. House seat, defeating his state Senate colleague and ending an acrimonious, intraparty clash.
Carter easily defeated Karen Carter Peterson in the race for Louisiana’s only Democrat-held seat in Congress, handing a victory to the more moderate side of the party after Peterson planted herself firmly in the progressive camp.
The pair of state senators had only modest policy differences to distinguish them, and the race centered mainly on personality. Carter had the backing, however, of the seat’s predecessor, Cedric Richmond.
The 2nd District seat — representing a majority-Black district centered in New Orleans and extending up the Mississippi River into Baton Rouge — was open because Richmond left the position shortly after he won last year’s election to work as a special adviser to President Joe Biden. Richmond endorsed Carter, a former New Orleans City Council member, in the race.
Peterson, the former chair of Louisiana’s Democratic Party, would have been the state’s first Black woman elected to Congress if she had been elected.
Carter and Peterson reached Saturday’s runoff after they emerged as the top vote-getters among 15 candidates in the March primary. Carter raised more campaign cash in the competition.
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The two state senators differed more in style than substance, though Peterson positioned herself as the more liberal candidate. In one runoff debate, Peterson described herself as “bold and progressive” and willing to “shake things up to get things done.”
Carter is known more for his ability and willingness to work across party lines, while Peterson is more overtly partisan in her approach. She suggested Carter cozied up to Republicans to boost his campaign, while he said Peterson’s dogmatic approach damaged her ability to pass legislation.