Two Carters Running for Congress — Again!

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Two candidates named Carter will run for Congress against Bill Jefferson — again — this season, but this time one of them is not Rep. Karen Carter Peterson. Sources say that current District C City Councilman James Carter as well as former District C Councilman Troy Carter both will announce soon. James Carter’s announcement will come out any minute now, in fact.

This adds several strange new twists to the campaign.

Two years ago, Troy Carter and Karen Carter Peterson both ran. Troy finished fifth and, with his base in Algiers, probably helped keep West Bank state Sen. Derrick Shepherd out of the runoff. He probably also took some “Carter” votes away from Karen Carter Peterson, but not enough to keep her from running second and making the runoff.

This time around, Troy could be a spoiler to both James Carter — both men are from Algiers — and to West Bank Jefferson Parish Councilman Byron Lee, who is Shepherd’s cousin and political ally. (Don’t you just love the entanglements of Louisiana politics?) Lee also has already lined up a pile of endorsements from Algiers politicos, which will make things tougher for both Carters.

One advantage of James Carter is the fact that most of his district is intact in the wake of Katrina, and his district spans the Mississippi River. He’s a popular councilmember who will no doubt portray himself as a reformer. Then again, all of Jefferson’s opponents will portray themselves that way. Sources say James Carter has already put together a campaign team that includes — as if there are not already enough Carter family members in this mini-drama — Dana Peterson, husband of Karen Carter Peterson, and David Huynh, who was state Sen. Cheryl Gray’s campaign manager in her successful state Senate race against Jalila Jefferson Bullock last fall. Dana Peterson and Huynh are partners in College Hill Strategy Group in New Orleans.

James Carter’s decision to run means that Gray has opted not to run, sources say.

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