Three state House members on Monday said they plan to run for the state Senate seat that Congressman-elect Troy Carter is vacating after his election on Saturday.
“Everything starts now,” said state Rep. Gary Carter, of New Orleans, who is Troy’s nephew, adding that he visited one church on Sunday to let voters know that he will be a candidate.
State Rep. Mack Cormier, D-Belle Chasse, and State Rep. Rodney Lyons, D-Harvey, also said they plan to run.
David Heitmeier, who held the Senate seat for two terms, might seek the position again. “We’re going to take a look at it,” he said.
All four are Democrats. The Black-majority district is centered in New Orleans where 48% of the voters live. It also extends into Jefferson (40% of the voters) and Plaquemines (12%) parishes. The district gave 70% of its vote to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, indicating that a Republican candidate for the seat would face an uphill battle.
State Senate Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, said he is aiming to move quickly to hold the election, with qualifying in early May, the primary in June and the runoff in July.
He said he wanted the seat filled soon to give its constituents representation when state officials begin taking public testimony for a road show on redistricting the legislative boundaries for the next decade.
Gary Carter, an attorney who was first elected to the House in 2015, echoed his uncle’s bipartisan approach to politics when asked why he would be a good candidate.
“I’ve watched Sen. Carter closely and will work with just about anybody and find shared concerns,” he said. “I have a strong record of accomplishment and will work with anybody to get things done.”
Carter noted that he won a 2/3 vote in both the House and Senate last year to put a change to the Constitution before voters in November that they approved with 55% of the vote. The change gives state officials greater flexibility to tap into the Rainy Day Fund in case of a federally-declared natural disaster, such as a hurricane or COVID.
Troy Carter said he would back his nephew.
"He has proven himself to be a great legislator and has demonstrated that he has learned a significant amount of the budget," Troy Carter said, noting that Gary is the vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
Lyons, a management consultant after retiring as a department head for the public works department in Jefferson Parish, was first elected to his seat in 2015.
“I have made a consistent effort at being accountable and accessible to the constituents of my district,” he said.
Cormier, who worked as a science teacher, was first elected in 2019.
He said that, after 53 years, it’s time for a Plaquemines Parish resident to be in the Senate.
“The people need a choice,” Cormier said, noting that he is anti-abortion and pro-guns.
Troy Carter defeated Karen Carter Peterson. Had she won, state Reps. Mandie Landry and Royce Duplessis, both Democrats from New Orleans, were considering running for her seat.