Viewpoint: Troy Carter leads fundraising in race for Cedric Richmond’s seat in Congress

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In documents filed yesterday with the Federal Elections Commission, state Sen. Troy Carter reported a fundraising haul of $405,118, far exceeding any of his opponents including state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, who raised $301,140 and Gary Chambers Jr. who reported $106,463.

Carter, Carter Peterson and Chambers are among the 15 candidates vying to replace former Congressman Cedric Richmond, now a top aide to President Joe Biden. 

The filings covered fundraising activities through Dec. 31, 2020.  Political consultants estimate this race will cost about $1 million.    

Troy Carter

During the reporting period, Carter spent only $26,687.50, leaving him with $378,430.50 in cash on hand. Carter received $48,350 in contributions from political action committees and $353,968 from individuals – almost evenly split between “high” donors who contributed more than $250 and “low” donors who contributed smaller amounts.  Almost 90% of Carter’s donors are Louisiana residents.

What is impressive in Carter’s report is the dozens of individual donors who made the maximum contribution — $2,800.  Richmond’s endorsement of Carter’s candidacy almost certainly led to the steady flow of funds. 

Individuals in the $2,800 category include a Who’s Who of New Orleans legal and business community including Rico Alvendia, Cherie Teamer, James Garner, Anthony Irpino, Gladstone Jones, Leopold Sher, Bob Ellis, Joey Murray, Anthony Marullo, John Litchfield, Sundiata Haley, Troy Henry, Chris Coulon, Nathan Junius, Moe Bader, Dr. John Hamide and Ronald Bordelon.

Elected officials who made donations include Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Kirk Lepine, Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson, Jefferson Parish Councilman Ricky Templet, state Sens. Greg Tarver and Ed Price, state Rep. Gary Carter, Constable Edwin Shorty and Clerk of Second City Court Darren Lombard. Other political players adding to his war chest include former state Sens. Joe Sevario, Francis Heitmeier and Don Cravins and former state Rep. Roy Quezaire as well as Brian Egana, Darrel Saizan, Mike Stag, Ike Spears, Delisha Boyd, Leslie Ellison, and former New Orleans police chiefs Eddie Compass III and Warren Riley.  

Also impressive was the number of high dollar donations that came from multiple members of the same family including Mark and Stacy Glago, Phillip and Robin Callegan, Renee and Greg Carter, Henry and Pam Show, Verne and Wendy Streckfus, Rhonda and William Watson, Josh and Lisa Fouquet, Nan and Thomas Barfield, and the Shelley family from Terry Shelley’s Shucking House.

PAC contributors include the Who Dat PAC, the Secure PAC, the Dogwood PAC and the Brave PAC. Carter donated $2,800 to his own campaign efforts. The Richmond for Congress campaign also chipped in $2,000.  

Several business owners hedged their bets by contributing to both Carter and Carter Peterson, including waste executive Jimmie Woods, Entergy official Rod West, architect Ray Manning, businessman Ronnie Burns, Four Seasons investor Lee Jackson, and lobbyists Rodney Braxton and Randall Womack. 

Karen Carter Peterson

Karen Carter Peterson’s contributors represent a broader cross section of America with many donors appreciative of her long-time work with the Democratic National Committee, where she currently serves as a vice chairwoman. Carter Peterson reported $273,937 cash on hand after having spent $27,202.  She received $30,500 in PAC contributions. 

Carter Peterson’s biggest contributors are the members of the Herman Herman Katz law firm represented by Russ and Sandra Herman, Maury Herman and Steve Herman. Carter Peterson’s father, the late Assessor Kenneth Carter, was associated with the Herman firm for the famous multi-million-dollar Castano v. American Tobacco Co. litigation case.  

Other donors who made maximum contributions to Carter Peterson include lawyer and Convention Center board member Geri Baloney, New Orleans Business Council leader Henry Coaxum, consultant Deborah Sulzer, architect Keeley Thibodeaux, actor David Huynh, attorney Daniel Davillier, consultant Judith Dangerfield, attorneys James Williams and Clint Vince, and Gigi Carter, Carter Peterson’s mother.

Other donors form New Orleans’ business community include developer Pres Kabacoff, author Walter Isaacson, engineering company owner Iam Tucker, Greater New Orleans Foundation executive Andy Kopplin, former publishing executive David Francis,  hotelier Mike Valentino, philanthropist Susan Hess, and attorneys Stephen Murray, Karl Connor, Jade Brown Russell and Phillipa Bowers.

Many of Carter Peterson’s donors hail from the world of politics, including former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, former National Democratic Committee chairman Tom Perez, political strategist Donna Brazile, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, state Sen. Fred Mills,  state Rep. Mandie Landry, Alabama state Rep. Anthony Daniels, former state Sen. Lydia Jackson, former Little Rock Mayor Lottie Shackelford, New Orleans CAO Ramsey Green, Deputy Assessor Darren Mire, former Louisiana Democratic Party director Stephen Handwerk, charter school official Patrick Dobard, lobbyist Paul Rainwater and former state health executive Dr. Rebekah Gee.

Carter Peterson’s PAC contributors include Emily’s List, Elect Democratic Women and the CherPAC.  

Gary Chambers Jr.

After spending $27,362 through Dec. 31, Gary Chambers reported $79,100 cash on hand. Chambers has been waging a grassroots campaign with thousands of small donors from across the country. 

Chambers’ major donors include Brian LaFleur of the BJL Group in Baton Rouge and Cleve Dunn Jr. of Baton Rouge’s Dunn Enterprises.  Other contributors include Massachusetts artist Susan Bernstein, Boston College librarian Laurel Davis, Los Angeles Sony official Keir Gilchrist, Beverly Hills actress Milla Jovovich, Solidcore CEO Anne Mahlum, and pastors Harry Ronaldo of Prairieville and Keion Henderson of Houston. Tara Riley, program director of Helping Hands of New Orleans, is among his Chambers’ local supporters.

Early voting begins March 5 with the primary election on March 20.  

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

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 swampednola@gmail.com.

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