Louisiana Runoff Gives Slim Democratic House Majority a One-Seat Boost

Louisiana lawmaker

Troy Carter

defeated

Karen Carter Peterson,

a fellow state legislator, in a runoff election for Congress that boosted the Democratic Party’s slim majority in the House.

The Associated Press called the contest for Mr. Carter, who led Ms. Carter Peterson by roughly 10 percentage points with more than 90% of precincts reporting. The pair of Democratic state senators from New Orleans earned spots in the runoff after leading a field of over a dozen candidates in March.

All candidates regardless of party competed against each other in the primary. No candidate topped 50% of the March vote, triggering Saturday’s runoff election. No Republican earned enough votes to advance to the runoff, so the seat was certain to remain in the Democratic column.

If Ms. Carter Peterson had won, she would have been the first Black woman elected to Congress from Louisiana.

Mr. Carter earned the early endorsement of former Rep.

Cedric Richmond,

whose vacated House seat was up for grabs after he joined President Biden’s administration as a senior adviser.

Mr. Carter had run his race as a pragmatic, across-the-aisle negotiator who could seek common ground with Republicans. “As a congressman, I have an obligation to meet with people in other parties,” Mr. Carter said at a recent debate when Ms. Carter Peterson accused him of cozying up to the GOP.

Ms. Carter Peterson sought to run her campaign further to the left, embracing ideas such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, earning an endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and some prominent local progressives. “It is wrong to stand with the oil companies while the pollution is killing our residents,” Ms. Carter Peterson said during the debate. Earlier, Mr. Carter argued that moving to green jobs too quickly would hurt the economy in New Orleans, an anchor for the oil-and-gas industry.

Cedric Richmond vacated his House seat to join the Biden administration as a senior adviser.



Photo:

Chris Granger/New Orleans Advocate/Associated Press

Despite their differences, both lawmakers were viewed by some Democrats in Washington as likely to be reliable rank-and-file votes in Congress if elected. Both support raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour, though Ms. Carter Peterson said she favors increasing it beyond that level, and both support legalizing marijuana.

House Speaker

Nancy Pelosi

(D., Calif.) is presiding over a slim majority of 218 Democrats versus 212 Republicans, leaving her little room for deflections as she steers Mr. Biden’s agenda through the House. Mrs. Pelosi gets a little breathing room, with 219 Democrats, with the Louisiana seat filled.

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Democrats are less optimistic about their chances in a May 1 special election in Texas to fill the seat left vacant by the late GOP Rep. Ron Wright. A Republican victory there—where Mr. Wright’s widow, Susan, is running in a bid to succeed her husband—would essentially offset the Democrats’ Louisiana victory.

Three other vacant House seats to be filled this year are expected to return to the Democratic column. A New Mexico seat became vacant when Deb Haaland joined Mr. Biden’s cabinet as secretary of the interior. Another vacancy is in Ohio, where Marcia Fudge gave up her seat to become secretary of housing and urban development. Another special election, to fill the seat of the late

Rep. Alcee Hastings

of Florida, is in a deep-blue district and is expected to be retained by a Democrat.

Write to Joshua Jamerson at joshua.jamerson+1@wsj.com

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Source: WSJ – US News

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