BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — On the day former U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond started his job in President Joe Biden’s White House, candidates filed the paperwork necessary to succeed him in Congress.
Hopefuls started submitting their qualifying papers Wednesday to run for Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district — which trickles from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. The emerging field includes a mix of longtime officeholders and political newcomers.
State Sens. Troy Carter and Karen Carter Peterson were first to sign their papers Wednesday at the state’s election office. Both voiced support for raising the federal minimum wage, and both touted their lawmaking resume. Carter has served 30 years in government — including in the state Legislature and New Orleans City Council; Peterson has served 20 years in the Legislature.
Carter distanced himself from Peterson, a fellow New Orleans Democrat, by noting his endorsement from Richmond, who now serves as one of Biden’s senior advisers.
“I can’t underscore the significance of that,” he told reporters Wednesday. “As a new congressman, I would have the ear of the guy who has the ear of the President of the United States of America.”
Peterson boasted an endorsement of her own, from former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, and stressed the need for minorities in politics. If elected, she would be Louisiana’s first woman of color elected to Congress.
“When women are not on the table, they’re on the menu,” she said. “It is time for women to have a seat at the table.”
Baton Rouge activist and publisher Gary Chambers billed himself as a candidate for the whole district — not just New Orleans — referencing challenges that stretch across Louisiana.
“We rank number 50 in crime because we rank number 49 in opportunity,” Chambers said. “The people in New Orleans, the people in Jefferson, the people in the River Parishes, as well as the people in Baton Rouge can relate to that. They want a leader that’s concerned about all people, not just a select demographic of the district.”
Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district is considered a Democratic stronghold. Since 1891, only one non-Democrat has held the seat: Republican Joseph Cao, from 2009 to 2011. Libertarian Party candidate Mindy McConnell wants to change that.
“Until we change the bipartisan system, we’re not really going to be able to address all the varying views of Americans,” McConnell said. “Americans do not fit into two boxes.”
Additional candidates may join the race before 4:30 p.m. Friday, the deadline to submit qualifying papers with the state elections office.
Primary Day is March 20. If no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will face off April 24.