Special election to fill Senate vacancy set for November

Karen Carter Peterson resigned after 12 years in the Senate to address a nearly 30-year struggle with depression and gambling addiction.

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A special election will be held in November to fill a state Senate seat left vacant by the resignation of Karen Carter Peterson, officials said.

Qualifying will be July 20-22, with the primary election to coincide with congressional elections on Nov. 8 and the runoff, if needed, will be held on Dec. 10, Senate President Page Cortez said. 

Cortez said he chose that schedule because it gives candidates enough time to decide whether to qualify, and it ensures a good turnout by having the race on the congressional ballot, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Three Democratic state representatives whose House districts overlap with Peterson’s Senate District 5 are considering the race. They are: Royce Duplessis, Mandie Landry and Aimee Adatto Freeman, the newspaper reported.

Other potential candidates include Jay Banks, a political ally of Peterson who lost his re-election to the New Orleans City Council last year, and Carling Dinkler, a lobbyist for Carvana, which sells used cars online. Dinkler finished third, just behind Landry, in the 2019 House race.

The New Orleans-based district includes Central City, the Central Business District, Broadmoor, Uptown, Hollygrove and a tiny slice of Metairie. 

In the fall of 2023, the winner will have to run for re-election in new boundaries approved during the redistricting session in February. Under the new map, the district will extend across the Mississippi River to include Marrero and gain a sizable majority of Black voters.

In this Wednesday, March 3, 2021, file photo, State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson poses outsider her home in New Orleans. (Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP, File)

Peterson, first elected to the Louisiana Legislature in 1999, resigned April 8 after 12 years in the Senate to address a nearly 30-year struggle with depression and gambling addiction.

The newspaper reported the next day that she is under federal investigation and is “fully cooperating” with federal authorities, according to her lawyer.

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