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Louisiana voters will decide 2 U.S. House special elections Saturday

Replacements will be picked in the 2nd District centered in New Orleans and the 5th District in Northeast Louisiana

♦By Rich Shumate,

NEW ORLEANS (CFP) — Voters in two Louisiana U.S. House districts will begin the process of picking new members of Congress Saturday, choosing from among crowded fields in both races.

In the 2nd District, centered in New Orleans, 15 candidates are running in an all-party contest to replace Democrat Cedric Richmond, who resigned to take a job as the White House public engagement director in the Biden administration.

In the 5th District, in northeast Louisiana, 12 candidates are running to replace Republican Luke Letlow, who was elected to the seat in November but died from COVID-19 in December before he could take office.

Polls for in-person voting will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Clockwise from top left: Letlow, Carter, Carter-Peterson, Chambers

Letlow’s widow, Julia Letlow, a former official at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, is the clear front-runner in the race to replace him. But she will have to win a majority on Saturday to avoid a runoff on April 24.

The 2nd District race, crowded with prominent political names, is likely headed to a runoff. The front-runners include two state senators from New Orleans, Troy Carter and Karen Carter-Peterson, and Gary Chambers, a community activist from Baton Rouge.

Carter has support form much of the Democratic establishment and major unions, while Carter-Peterson has been drawn support from the Congressional Progressive Caucus and from liberal grassroots group such as Democracy for America and Our Revolution, a group spun out of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Chambers has been competing with Cater-Peterson for votes on the activist left, despite her organizational support.

While the runoff is likely to be among Democrats ,given the partisan lean of the district, Republican support has coalesced behind Claston Bernard, an Olympic decathlete originally from Jamaica and former track star at LSU, who is making his first bid for political office.

The 2nd District includes most of New Orleans and part of Baton Rouge, along with the River Parishes between. The 5th District includes parts of 25 parishes in the state’s northeast corner and along the Mississippi border.

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