State Rep. Steve Carter, chairman of the Capital Region Legislative Delegation, has decided against running in the upcoming Senate District 16 election. The freshman Republican says the nine-parish delegation is just beginning to make substantial progress, and there are too many “great opportunities” ahead. “I firmly believe my work in the House is not done yet and have therefore decided to not run for Senate at this time,” Carter said through a spokesperson Monday night.
Baton Rouge attorney Dan Claitor is another Republican eyeing the conservative-leaning district. He shared his own polling data with The Advocate over the weekend, conducted by Southern Media & Opinion Research, which showed his potential campaign leading the contest-to-be, followed by Carter. If nothing else, it places Claitor among the few already dropping cash in the all-GOP field. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he ran unsuccessfully for district attorney last year.
In the third and fourth spots of the commissioned poll, respectively, were political consultant Laurinda Calongne and businessman Lee Domingue. They’re the only announced candidates thus far and both have compelling stories—Domingue a Christian writer, motivational speaker and well-known member of Healing Place Church; Calongne a health care expert with economic development experience and a previous run for Congress under her belt.
Bill Cassidy will be sworn into the U.S. House today, but the race to fill his Senate seat became competitive long ago. State Rep. Erich E. Ponti dipped his toes in the race in early November, ordering signs even, before dropping out later in the month. Fellow Republican James Riley entered the race alongside Ponti and last only slightly longer. Qualifying is set to start Jan. 14.