GOP’s Letlow Wins Louisiana Election to Replace Late Husband
(Bloomberg) -- The widow of a Louisiana Congressman-elect who died from Covid-19 complications before he could take office won a special election to replace him in Congress, hours after getting an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.
A second special election in Louisiana, to fill the seat vacated by White House adviser Cedric Richmond, will go to a run-off in April.
Republican Julia Letlow, a political newcomer who received Trump’s backing, won Saturday’s crowded race to represent the state’s 5th Congressional District.
Letlow, 40, is a university administrator who lives in northern Louisiana with her two young children. She’ll be Louisiana’s first Republican woman in the U.S. House.
Her husband Luke Letlow, a former congressional aide, died in late December at age 41, days before he could take office.
“This is an incredible moment, and it is truly hard to put into words. What was born out of the terrible tragedy of losing my husband, Luke, has become my mission in his honor,” Letlow said in a statement Saturday night.
Letlow received 64.9% of the vote in Saturday’s 12-candidate field, easily clearing the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off. Democrat Sandra “Candy” Christophe was second with 27.3% support.
The Fifth District represents population hubs in the cities of Monroe and Alexandria. It previously was represented by Republican Ralph Abraham, who left Congress at the close of the last session after three terms. Luke Letlow was Abraham’s chief of staff.
John Bel Edwards, Louisiana’s Democratic governor, congratulated Letlow.
“She has continued to exemplify strength, determination and tenacity in the wake of a terrible tragedy,” Edwards said in a statement. “These same characteristics that got her through the last few months will make her an excellent advocate for Louisiana in Washington.”
In the state’s 2nd Congressional district, which stretches from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, 15 candidates vied for the seat vacated by Richmond, who joined President Joe Biden’s administration in January as a senior political adviser after cruising to re-election in November.
Democratic state Senator Troy Carter was declared with winner, but his 36.4% support will put him into the April 24 run-off. Karen Carter Peterson, also a state senator, came in second with 22.9%, edging out activist Gary Chambers with 21.3%. Carter and Carter Peterson aren’t related.
Richmond endorsed Carter, but Peterson had the backing of other influential Democrats and progressives in her bid to become the first Black woman to represent the Deep South state in Congress.
The Second District seat will remain empty until results of the run-off results are known. Democrats hold a slim majority in the House.
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