Edwards-backed candidate ends bid to lead Democratic Party

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Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, proposed resolutions relating to unemployment benefits for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A business owner from Lafayette appears poised to be the new leader of the Louisiana Democratic Party, after the candidate favored by Gov. John Bel Edwards dropped out of the competition Wednesday.

Katie Bernhardt is expected to be chosen as chair of the party. The News-Star reports that state Rep. Ted James — who was backed by the governor — took himself out of the head-to-head race, ending the contest for the leadership job.

Bernhardt has been a member of the Louisiana Democratic Party’s governing body, the Democratic State Central Committee, for four years.

James entered the competition late, after Bernhardt had been running for months. James said he dropped out of the race so he could focus on campaigning for Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his vice presidential pick Kamala Harris. James had been a co-chairman of Harris’ presidential campaign in Louisiana before she withdrew.

The current Louisiana Democratic Party chair, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, announced in July she wouldn’t seek another four-year term. Members of the Democratic State Central Committee were scheduled to vote for a new chair on Saturday, but that meeting has been postponed because of Hurricane Laura.

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