(Headline USA) Republican Julia Letlow easily won a Saturday special election for the northeast Louisiana-based U.S. House seat that her husband, Luke, couldn’t fill because of his death.
With the victory, Julia Letlow becomes the third woman ever elected to the U.S. House from Louisiana, the first Republican woman elected to Congress from the state and the only woman among its current congressional delegation.
She trounced 11 other contenders to capture the 5th District seat in the primary.
Farther south, the race to fill a second vacant U.S. House seat for Louisiana was headed to an April 24 runoff.
State Sen. Troy Carter, a New Orleans Democrat, secured his spot in that runoff, but it was too early to determine who he’d face in the head-to-head matchup.
Fifteen candidates were vying for the New Orleans-based 2nd District seat that’s open because Democrat Cedric Richmond took a job as a special adviser to President Joe Biden.
In Louisiana, all candidates regardless of party compete against each other in the primary.
If no candidate tops 50% of the vote, a runoff election is held between the top two vote-getters.
Julia Letlow ran in her deep red district with the backing of former President Donald Trump, the endorsement of the state GOP and more money raised than all her competitors combined.
It was the first bid for elected office by the higher education administrator who lives in the small town of Start in Richland Parish.
She ran on issues similar to those that her husband discussed during his campaign. She talked of supporting agriculture in the largely rural district, expanding broadband internet access and supporting conservative values.
“I’ve had time to refine a vision for our district, one where we can work together to uplift our communities out of poverty through jobs and opportunity, where the best natural resources and the best people attract businesses to create more jobs right here at home, where our children aren’t forced out of state for opportunity,” she said.
Luke Letlow died Dec. 29, only days before he was scheduled to be sworn into office.
His wife announced her candidacy in January, a move that sidelined other high-profile Republicans who had expressed interest in the seat.
Julia Letlow raised more than $680,000 for the race, according to data filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.