New Orleans City Councilmember Helena Moreno, right, and Louisiana State Senator Troy Carter, left, chat with U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond after announced he's leaving Congress to work as an adviser to President-elect Joe Biden. Richmond made the announcement at the Lakefront Airport in New Orleans on Tuesday, November 17, 2020. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

When state legislators redrew congressional districts nearly a decade ago, they designed the 2nd congressional district to elect a Black Democrat from New Orleans.

It’s worth remembering that as potential candidates begin to jockey for the race to replace U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Black Democrat from New Orleans who announced on Tuesday that he will resign his seat in January to join the Biden administration.

In the Nov. 3 election, 59% of the 348,404 voters in the district were Black, a tad down from the 61% of voters who are Black.

Voter registration figures by parish show the advantage for a New Orleans candidate.

About 45% of voters are in Orleans Parish, 24% are in Jefferson Parish, 20% are in the river parishes and 12% are in East Baton Rouge Parish, according to figures supplied by John Couvillon, a Baton Rouge-based pollster and demographer.

Black Democrats from New Orleans who have announced plans to run or who are potential candidates include state Sen. Troy Carter, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, state Sen. Jimmy Harris and Public Service Commissioner Lambert Boissiere III.

Another potential candidate from New Orleans is Helena Moreno, a New Orleans City Council member at large and a former state representative. But Moreno was born in Mexico and grew up in Texas.

“She could win because this is a district with a Black majority but not an overwhelming Black majority,” Couvillon said.

Potential Black candidates from Baton Rouge are state Sen. Cleo Fields, who served in Congress from 1993-97; Darius Lanus, an East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member; and Gary Chambers, a blogger and activist.

“The only way a Black candidate from Baton Rouge could win is to be able to get the white vote district-wide,” said Couvillon.

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