However, Ms. Peterson’s best applause could also reflect her best chance of prevailing.
“In Louisiana history, there has never been an African American woman serving on the federal delegation in Washington,” she said. “When women aren’t at the table, we’re usually on the menu.”
At a moment when black women want to see more of their peers in positions of power – a view that makes up a large part of the democratic base when black women run in high profile elections in places like New York City, Virginia and Ohio this year – this is it Message clearly in response.
“I’m all for women now, we just need a representation,” said Angela Steib, a Donaldsonville resident who attended the meeting.
For his part, Mr. Carter is quick to point out his support from a number of local women leaders, including the Helena Moreno, President of the New Orleans City Council – and to say that he would be more effective in Washington than Ms. Peterson because she acknowledges she is persistent.
“We have a completely different style,” he said.
Philosophically, the two weren’t that far apart in the past. But Mrs. Peterson has tried to outstrip Mr. Carter on the left in that race by portraying herself as an insurgent, despite trumpeting her service as former state chairman and her list of endorsements, including support for Stacey Abrams and Emily’s List, the group that supports women who are for abortion rights.
When asked to describe her political style, she avoided an ideological label and instead called herself “responsive” and “honest”. Mr. Carter said, “I’m center left.”
However, in a sleepy spring special election, the winner can be determined by which of the two top candidates has a stronger organization. Both have long histories in the local office, both have sought this seat in the past and have been financially competitive, despite Emily’s ruse given Ms. Peterson third party help that Mr. Carter lacks on the radio waves.