Edwards Backs State Lawmaker to Lead Louisiana’s Democrats

State Rep. Ted James

BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards threw his support Friday to state Rep. Ted James to be the next leader of the Louisiana Democratic Party, an endorsement that gives the lawmaker an edge in the competition.

The current party chair, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, announced in July she wouldn’t seek another four-year term. Members of the party’s governing body — the Democratic State Central Committee — will vote for a new chair on Aug. 29.

Edwards described James, a Baton Rouge lawyer in the House since 2012, as a “close friend, strong supporter, and unwavering ally to me in the Legislature.”

“Ted has worked tirelessly to elect Louisiana Democrats in every corner of the state, making significant investments in candidates that represent our state’s diversity,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “Ted will bring a renewed spirit to our state party, and I know he’ll build an organization that is reflective of every Democrat in the state.”

James is competing against Lafayette lawyer Katie Bernhardt for the leadership position.

Peterson, a New Orleans lawyer, has led the Democratic Party for two terms. She was first chosen for the post in 2012 and was the first woman to win the job of party chair.

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