by C.C. Campbell-Rock

            Voters in Louisiana’s Second Congressional District have fifteen candidates to choose from to replace former democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond.  President Biden tapped Richmond last November to be a senior advisor. Richmond serves as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. 

            Among the candidates are eight Democrats, four Republicans, two Independents, and one Libertarian.  The field includes veteran elected officials, and candidates making their first run at elective office. Also the huge field includes candidates who have never run for office before.  Anyone who wins 50 percent of the vote will win the special primary. However, given the number of candidates running, a run-off election is likely.

            State Senator Troy Carter, Senator Karen Carter Peterson, and Gary Chambers, Jr. are the top three contenders.

            Dr. Edward Chervenak, of Edgewater Research, and Dr. Tony Licciardi, with the My People Vote© campaign, conducted a poll of 651 likely voters from March 2-7, 2021.

The Edgewater/MyPeopleVote© poll showed Carter with an 11+ lead over Peterson, 35 percent to 24 percent and a 21 point lead over Chambers’ 11 percent.

Dr. Silas Lee’s February 12-14, 2021 poll had Carter with a 9+ lead over Peterson, 28 percent to 19 percent, and a 22% lead over Chamber’s 6 percent.  However, polls are just snapshots in time and can change. The election day poll is the only one that counts.


Troy Carter

Troy Carter is endorsed by several organizations and elected officials, including former Congressman Cedric Richmond.

Carter’s priorities for the office include sponsoring equal and fair housing legislation, fighting for the disabled, advocating for criminal justice reform, environmental justice, equal pay, and a living wage for all Louisianians. He will also protect the right of women to make decisions concerning their health and reproductive rights.

Carter wants to reduce or eliminate student loan debt. He will ensure that small businesses in Louisiana get a fair share of American Recovery Act funds. He also plans to support the  creation of job training programs.

Karen Carter Peterson has been endorsed by Stacey Abrams and organizations focused on supporting women candidates, among others.

Karen Carter Peterson

If elected, Peterson will fight for economic justice, and vote for impactful climate change legislation that creates clean energy jobs, support sensible gun safety reform and background checks, advocate for criminal justice reform and police reform by calling for an end to mandatory minimums and  legalizing marijuana, and support legislation to update the use of deadly force standard, among other priorities.

Gary Chambers, Jr. is a Baton Rouge-based social justice advocate, community organizer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the media outlet, The Rouge Collection. Chambers’ overall goal for the 2nd Congressional District is to bring resources back to the people of the district. Chambers vows to improve the quality of life for Louisiana residents. He wants achieve economic, environmental, and criminal justice reform. If elected.

Gary Chambers

 Chambers wants to improve access to community health, education, and job training programs for residents. He supports the Green New Deal, Reparations, and creating federal standards for all state and local law enforcement agencies.  Also on his agenda are immigration rights, foreign affairs, and LGBTQ+ rights.


            The rest of the candidates are dark horses and long shots. However, there are two candidates who may do better than anticipated.

            Harold John a retired letter carrier, who sits on the board of the State Association of Letter Carriers and advises the Greater N.O. AFL-CIO, is well known in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. John, a member of Justice & Beyond, says charter schools motivated him to get into the race. He took the destruction of the teachers union personally. The St. Augustine and Dillard University graduate wants to see control of publicly-funded schools returned to the Orleans Parish School Board.

Harold John

Also at the top of John’s list is legislation for a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 monthly for all those living below the poverty line, which includes seniors. He wants to ensure that seniors don’t have to choose between healthcare and food. John wants to increase access to affordable housing, funding for small business development, and support for a living wage, comprehensive health care, and meaningful police reform.

Noonie Man

Beldon “Noonie Man” Batiste is a frequent speaker at City Council meetings. As a community activist, Batiste supports protests and campaigns for justice in healthcare, affordable housing, the environment, and government. Batiste masks Indian and is an advocate for LGBTQ rights.

If elected, Batiste would support bills to expand healthcare, Medicare for all, and cancel student debt. He supports a $22 per hour living and saving wage, funding for job training programs and small business loans for youth. Batiste will advocate for police reform, the Green New Deal, and a moratorium on new petrochemical plants along Cancer Alley, among other priorities.

Beldon “Noonie Man” Batiste

Also running to replace Richmond are Desiree Ontiveros, a small business owner and education advocate, J. Christopher Johnson, a grassroots organizer and founder of Mobilizing Millennials  Lloyd Kelly Executive Director of Helping Ourselves Make Economic Strides (H.O.M.E.S) Inc.. Also Jenette Porter, small business owner, Chelsea Ardoin, project manager and H.R. professional, Claston Bernard, author and entrepreneur, Greg Lirette, cybersecurity and IT specialist, Sheldon C. Vincent Sr., construction contractor and Navy veteran, Mindy McConnell, special education teacher, charter school co-principal, and law student, and last but not least is Brandon Jolicoeur, catastrophe adjuster.

Visit the candidates’ campaign websites and  Ballotpedia for more information on the candidates priorities and details on the March 20, Non-Partisan Special Congressional Election.

Troy Carter (D) Karen Carter Peterson (D) Gary Chambers, Jr (D) Harold John (D) Belden Batiste (I) Desiree Ontiveros (D) J. Christopher Johnson (D), Lloyd Kelly (D)  Jenette Porter (D), Chelsea Ardoin I, Claston Bernard (R) Greg Lirette I, Sheldon Vincent Sr. I, Mindy McConnell (L), and Brandon Jolicoeur (I).

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