Troy Carter (D) won the special election for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District on Saturday, April 24. Carter received 55.2% of the vote, and fellow Democrat Karen Peterson received 44.8%. The two advanced to the general election from the March 20 all-party primary. Carter was elected to the state Senate in 2015 and has previously served in the Louisiana House of Representatives and the New Orleans City Council.
Former incumbent Cedric Richmond (D) and several U.S. House members endorsed Carter, a state senator. Peterson, who is also a state senator, had endorsements from 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) and Gary Chambers (D), who finished third in the primary.
Richmond resigned in January to become a senior adviser to President Joe Biden (D) and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. He was first elected in 2010 and won re-election last year with 63.9% of the vote. Since 2000, the seat has been occupied by a Democrat in all years except 2009-2011, when it was occupied by Joseph Cao (R).
Carter and Peterson both expressed support for legalizing 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 waters. Both candidates supported increasing the federal minimum wage but disagreed on what it should be raised to. Carter supported a $15 per hour minimum wage, while Peterson said she would support raising it to $20 per hour. The candidates also differed on healthcare policy, with Carter supporting a public option and Peterson supporting a Medicare for All plan.
This is the second special election to be decided for the 117th Congress. On March 20th, voters in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District elected Julia Letlow (R) in a special election to fill the vacancy left by Luke Letlow (R), who died before being seated in the 117th Congress from complications related to COVID-19.