(CNN)Democratic state Sen. Troy Carter will win the special election runoff in Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, CNN projects.
Carter, a former New Orleans city council member, was the more moderate candidate in the runoff and ran as someone willing to work across the aisle. His opponent, fellow Democratic state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (no relation), ran on a more progressive platform. While the election doesn’t alter the balance of power in the House, it does fill a seat that’s been vacant for months, giving Democrats — who enjoy a narrow majority — slightly more breathing room. The race in the majority Black district that stretches from New Orleans to Baton Rouge was also an early test of the direction of the Democratic Party three months into Biden’s presidency. Crucially, Carter earned the early endorsement of the man whose seat he’ll be filling, former Rep. Cedric Richmond. Richmond resigned his seat in January to join the Biden White House. The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022Carter led in the first round of voting last month, where he took about 36% of the vote to Peterson’s 23%. Since no candidate cleared 50% in that round, the race went to a runoff as required by state law. Read MoreCarter was more comfortable embracing the establishment banner, casting himself as an effective legislator and touting his endorsements from Richmond, South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, Louisiana teachers’ unions, and the Greater New Orleans AFL-CIO.He will be the only Democrat representing the Bayou State in Congress. The state’s other five representatives and two senators are all Republicans. Besides choosing between two divergent approaches to politics, voters in the district were also deciding how much gender was a factor. Peterson, who had the endorsement of EMILY’s List — which backs Democratic women who support abortion rights — would have been the first Black woman to represent the state in Congress.Following Saturday’s election results, Peterson said, “I’m honored by the faith that so many put in me because they believe in the future of this district and what we can accomplish together.””I’m wishing Sen. Carter well as he represents Louisiana in Washington, and I will keep fighting every day for our communities, our people, and the change we need,” she continued in a statement.The race was the latest chapter in a political rivalry that has brewed for decades — and one that includes facing each other in a previous congressional election.In 2006, both Carter and Peterson ran against then-Rep. William Jefferson, a Democrat who at the time was under investigation for corruption and would later be convicted. Peterson finished second in the primary and Carter a distant fifth. In Louisiana, the top-two primary finishers advance to a runoff. Peterson lost to Jefferson in the general election.This story has been updated with additional information.