Election preview: special Louisiana elections scheduled for March 20

Louisiana is holding primary elections on March 20, 2021. A general election, if needed, is set for April 24. Louisiana elections use the majority-vote system. All candidates compete in the same primary, and a candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50 percent of the vote. If no candidate does, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election, regardless of their partisan affiliation.

On the ballot at the state level are special elections for Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) District 4, Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal District 1, and Louisiana House of Representatives District 82. Ballotpedia is also covering special elections for Louisiana’s 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts.

The BESE special election was called after Tony Davis (R) left office to devote more time to his job as a senior director at the National Association of Manufacturers on January 20, 2021. Davis served from 2016 to 2021. Five candidates are on the ballot, including one Democrat, two Republicans, and two independents.

Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal District 1 became vacant on October 1, 2020, when Judge Felicia Toney Williams (D) retired. Williams served on the court from 1993 to 2020. Three candidates are on the ballot to replace her, all Democrats. 

Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal District 2 was also scheduled to be on the ballot after Judge Jay McCallum (R) was elected to the Louisiana Supreme Court on November 3, 2020. McCallum served on the appellate court from 2018 to 2021. The special election to replace him was canceled after Jeff Robinson (R) was the only candidate to file and was automatically elected.

The Louisiana House of Representatives District 82 seat became vacant on January 12, 2021, when Charles Henry (R) resigned. Henry served from 2020 to 2021. Three candidates are competing to replace him—one Democrat and two Republicans.

Louisiana has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. The governor is a member of the Democratic Party and both chambers in the Louisiana State Legislature have Republican majorities.

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