Trump-backed candidate wins special election to replace late husband in what may be first of many

Andrew Trunsky, DCNF

Louisiana voters in the state’s 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts went to the polls Saturday in the first two federal elections since the Georgia Senate runoffs.

In the solidly-Democratic 2nd District, state Sens. Troy Carter and Karen Carter Peterson (no relation) had 36.1% and 23%, respectively, when the race was called and will advance to a runoff on April 24. In the state’s solidly-Republican 5th District, Julia Letlow won with over 62% of the vote, avoiding a runoff altogether.

The 2nd District’s vacancy resulted after former Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond resigned his seat on Jan. 15 to join the Biden administration as the director of the Office of Public Engagement. The 5th District’s vacancy, however, came after Letlow’s late husband, Republican Representative-elect Luke Letkow, died from COVID-19 on Dec. 29.

Letlow announced her candidacy shortly after her husband’s death and received endorsements from Republican leadership and former President Donald Trump. Letlow told the National Journal that she intended to seek a full term in 2022, and if elected should have little problem doing so in a district that Trump won by 30 points.

The next federal election is on May 1 in Texas, where voters in the state’s 6th Congressional District will decide who will fill the remainder of Republican Rep. Ron Wright’s term. Wright died of COVID-19 on Feb. 7, and following his death, his wife, Susan Wright, announced her campaign to succeed him.

New Mexico’s 1st District and Ohio’s 11th District — both solidly Democratic — are also vacant. Former New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland and former Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge joined the Biden administration in March as the secretaries of the Interior and Housing and Urban Development, respectively.

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