Viewpoint: Voters in Louisiana’s ‘majority minority district’ to choose a U.S. representative Saturday
By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist
The 2nd Congressional District as it exists today is a “majority minority district” created during the 1990 redistricting cycle, according to Ed Chervenak, a UNO political scientist who has polled the race through his firm Edgewater Research.
The intent of the 1990 redistricting was to create a voting district where a “representative of choice” could be elected. The district runs from New Orleans East to Baton Rouge and includes parishes along the Mississippi River.
Except for Joseph Cao, who served one two-year term after defeating William Jefferson, there has not been a Republican member of Congress elected from the metro New Orleans area in more than 100 years.
Jefferson had already been indicted for bribery when Cao opposed him in 2008. In that era, Louisiana had an election system in which the winners of separate Democratic and Republican primaries automatically advanced to the run-off. Cao easily beat Jefferson but lost his re-election bid on Nov. 2, 2010, to Cedric Richmond, who subsequently served 10 years before he was named a senior adviser to President Joseph Biden.
In Saturday’s election to replace Richmond in Congress, the lengthy ballot includes eight Democrats and four Republicans, along with an Independent, a Libertarian and a No Party candidate. Voters will choose from these 15 candidates:
Chelsea Ardoin, Republican
Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste, Independent
Claston Bernard, Republican
Troy A. Carter, Democrat
Karen Carter Peterson, Democrat
Gary Chambers, Jr., Democrat
Harold John, Democrat
J. Christopher Johnson, Democrat
Brandon Jolicoeur, No Party
Lloyd M. Kelly, Democrat
“Greg” Lirette, Republican
Mindy McConnell, Libertarian
Desiree Ontiveros, Democrat
Jenette M. Porter, Democrat
Sheldon C. Vincent, Sr., Republican
More than 30,000 people have already cast their vote in Saturday’s election. The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. See here to find your polling place.
Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, offers her opinions on Thursdays. Her career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and former clients such as District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, City Councilman Jared Brossett, City Councilwoman at-large Helena Moreno, Foster Campbell, former Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former City Councilwomen Stacy Head and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. She is a member of the Democratic Parish Executive Committee. Columbus can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.