Troy Carter (D) and Karen Peterson (D) are running in a special runoff election to represent Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House on April 24, 2021. Carter and Peterson received the most votes in March 20 special primary election. They advanced to the general runoff under Louisiana’s majority-vote system, which stipulates that if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the primary, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election.
Carter and Peterson have both emphasized their experience and careers as lawmakers during the campaign. “Throughout my career I’ve remained laser focused on the simple ways to improve people’s day to day lives – like guaranteeing access to COVID-19 vaccine, equality pay for women, criminal justice reform and fighting for a living wage,” said Carter. Peterson said “After Katrina hit, I told the truth, held people accountable, and fought to help our families and our businesses rebuild. And that’s what I’ll do in Congress to lead us out of this pandemic.”
Both candidates support legalizing recreational marijuana, ending cash bail, forgiving student debt loans for up to $50,000, and a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal land and water. Both support increasing the federal minimum wage, but disagree on how high. Carter supports raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, while Peterson said she would support raising it to $20 per hour. The candidates also differ on health care policy, with Carter supporting a public option allowing people to choose between a government-funded plan and private insurance and Peterson supporting a Medicare for All universal health care plan.
Carter raised $610,000 in the period from March 1 to April 4 compared to Peterson’s $362,000. Both candidates garnered noteworthy endorsements in recent weeks, with New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) endorsing Peterson and Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams (D) endorsing Carter.
The special election will fill the vacancy left by Cedric Richmond (D). On November 17, 2020, then President-elect Joe Biden (D) announced that Richmond would join his administration as a senior adviser to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Richmond was first elected in 2010, and in the November 3, 2020 elections, he won with 63.9% of the vote. Since 2000, the seat has been occupied by a Democrat in all years except 2008-2010, when it was occupied by Joseph Cao (R).