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Republican Julia Letlow wins race for Louisiana U.S. House District 5; District 2 race heads to runoff
2 New Orleans Democratic state senators, Troy Carter and Karen Carter-Peterson, will meet in runoff
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com
NEW ORLEANS (CFP) — Republican Julia Letlow has won a special election for Louisiana’s 5th District U.S. House seat less than three months after her husband, Luke, died of COVID-19 complications before he could be sworn into the post.
In another special election Saturday in the 2nd District, Democratic state senators Troy Carter and Karen Carter-Peterson advanced to an April 24 runoff in a contest to replace Cedric Richmond, who resigned to take a job as the White House public engagement director in the Biden administration.
In the 5th District race, Letlow, 40, a former external affairs official at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, took 65% of the vote, besting 11 other candidates in the all-party race.
Coming in second place at 27% was the lone Democrat in the contest, Candy Christophe, a businesswoman and social worker from Alexandria.
Letlow’s husband, Luke, won the seat in November but died December 29 from COVID complications, days before he was scheduled to be sworn into Congress.
She will be just the third woman to represent a Louisiana district in the House, ending a 30-year drought of female representation.
The 5th District includes parts of 24 parishes in the state’s northeast corner and along the Mississippi border.
In the 2nd District — which includes most of New Orleans and part of Baton Rouge, along with the River Parishes between — Carter and Carter-Peterson led a field of 15 candidates, with Carter finishing first with 36% and Carter-Peterson with 23%.
However, the third-place finisher,Democrat Gary Chambers, a community activist from Baton Rouge, was just 1,500 votes behind Carter-Peterson.
Carter had support from much of the Democratic establishment and major unions, while Carter-Peterson drew 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.
But Chambers was competing for those same voters and came in ahead of Carter-Peterson in Orleans Parish, the largest in the district.
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Replacements will be picked in the 2nd District centered in New Orleans and the 5th District in Northeast Louisiana
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com
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.
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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Letlow was elected to represent the 5th District in December runoff
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
SHREVEPORT (CFP) — Less than a month after winning a hard-fought runoff to claim a seat in Congress, Louisiana Republican U.S. Rep.-elect Luke Letlow has died from complications from COVID-19, becoming the first member or prospective member of Congress claimed by the pandemic.
Letlow, 41, died Tuesday at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport, where he was admitted last week after his condition worsened. He had announced on December 18 that he had tested positive and was admitted to a hospital in Monroe the next day.
The Monroe Star News reported that Letlow died from a heart attack while undergoing a procedure to treat his COVID infection but had no underlying heart issues.
Letlow’s death came just five days before he was to be sworn in as a congressman on Sunday. He is survived by his wife, Julia, and two young children. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Before his election to Congress, Letlow had served as chief-of-staff for Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham. After Abraham announced his retirement in March, Letlow ran to be his replacement in the 5th District, which covers 24 parishes in northeast and central Louisiana.
With Abraham’s endorsement, Letlow had come in first place in November’s all-party jungle primary. In the December runoff, he defeated Republican State Rep. Lance Harris, capturing 62% of the vote.
His death will trigger a special election in the 5th District. Governor John Bel Edwards has set the election for March 20, to coincide with other state elections and another special election in metro New Orleans to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is leaving the House to join the Biden administration.
The 5th District is heavily Republican, making it likely that another Republican will replace Letlow. Abraham has said he does not plan to be a candidate.
Edwards released a statement saying he was “heartbroken that [Letlow] will not be able to serve our people as a U.S. representative, but I am even more devastated for his loving family.”
The Louisiana congressional delegation also released a statement saying that Letlow “had such a positive spirit, and a tremendously bright future ahead of him. He was looking forward to serving the people of Louisiana in Congress, and we were excited to welcome him to our delegation where he was ready to make an even greater impact on our state and our Nation.”
In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Letlow “fought passionately for his point of view and dedicated his life to public service.”
“As the House grieves Congressman-elect Letlow’s passing, our sorrow is compounded by the grief of so many other families who have also suffered lives cut short by this terrible virus,” Pelosi said.
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Kelly McAllister says her husband, U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, “owns up to his mistakes”
MONROE, Louisiana (CFP) — The wife of embattled U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister is appearing in a new television as the Louisiana Republican battles to keep his seat after an embarrassing video surfaced last April showing him kissing a female staffer.
“A man’s character is based on how many times he gets back up and stands again,” Kelly McAllister says in the ad. “I’m blessed to have a husband who owns up to his mistakes, never gives up, always fighting for the good people of Louisiana.”
McAllister himself opens the video, saying that “life is filled with ups and downs.”
McAllister, 40, a Christian conservative and father of five, was elected to the 5th District seat in a special election last November in his first bid for political office. After the video surfaced, he announced he would not seek re-election, but he later changed his mind and filed to run again.
To go back to Washington, he will have to defeat five Republicans and a Democrat who have filed to run against him, including Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, the Democrat, and former Republican U.S. Rep. Clyde Holloway, a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission.
The crowded field could help McAllister because of Louisiana’s unique jungle primary system. All seven candidates run in the same race in November, with the top two vote-getters facing each other in a runoff in December if nobody wins a majority.
Click here to watch the commercial.
McAllister’s exit comes after video surfaced showing him kissing a female staffer outside his district office
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitcs.com editor
MONROE, Louisiana (CFP) — Three weeks after video surfaced showing him passionately kissing a female staffer, embattled Republican U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister has announced that he won’t seek re-election this fall.
However, despite calls from leading Louisiana Republicans and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for his resignation, McAllister is vowing to serve out the remainder of his term.
“The people of the Fifth District of Louisiana need and deserve a voice in Washington,” McAllister said in a statement released April 28. “Today, I am announcing that I will not seek re-election, but I will continue to be that voice and will uphold the office to which I was elected to serve for the remainder of my term.”
“As I’ve said before, there’s no doubt I’ve made a mistake. I’ve failed those I care most about and let down the people who elected me to represent them. I take full responsibility for this personal failure, and I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done.”
The decision to hang on to his office ran into immediate opposition from Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House, who met with McAllister and told him he needed to resign, Politico reported.
McAllister, 40, a Christian conservative and married father of five, was elected to the vacant 5th District seat last November in his first bid for political office.