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Stories about Louisiana

Special election results for Louisiana state education board, appeals court

Louisiana held special state-level primary elections on March 20. A general election is scheduled 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% of the vote. If no candidate wins outright, 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 were 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 also covered special elections in Louisiana’s 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts. Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District was the only race decided outright in the primary; the rest advanced to the April general election.

The BESE special election was called after Tony Davis (R) left office in January. He served from 2016 to 2021. Five candidates were on the ballot, including one Democrat, two Republicans, and two independents. Cassie Williams (D) and Michael Melerine (R) advanced to the general election. Williams received 29.3% of the vote, and Melerine received 28.2% of the vote.

Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal District 1 became vacant in October when Judge Felicia Toney Williams (D) retired. Williams served on the court from 1993 to 2020. Three candidates competed to replace her, all Democrats. Marcus Hunter (D) received 43.7% of the vote. He faces J. Garland Smith (D), who received 31.9% of the vote, in the general election.

The Louisiana House of Representatives District 82 seat became vacant in January when Charles Henry (R) resigned. Henry served from 2020 to 2021. Three candidates competed to replace him—one Democrat and two Republicans. Edwin Connick (R) faces Laurie Schlegel (R) in the general. Connick received 39.7% of the vote and Schlegel received 35.7% of the vote.

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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Julia Letlow wins Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District special election

Julia Letlow (R) defeated 11 other candidates to win the special election for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District on March 20. Letlow received 65% of the vote, followed by Candy Christophe (D) with 27% of the vote. Under Louisiana’s majority-vote system, Letlow won the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote.

Julia Letlow is the widow of Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R), who was elected to represent the district on Dec. 5, 2020. Luke Letlow died from complications related to COVID-19 on Dec. 29. Julia Letlow has worked in marketing and as an administrator at the University of Louisiana Monroe and Tulane University.

Before the 2020 general election, Louisiana’s 5th District was represented by Ralph Abraham (R), who did not seek re-election. The district was last represented by a Democrat in 2004 when Rep. Rodney Alexander (R) changed his partisan affiliation from Democratic to Republican. In the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) defeated Joe Biden (D) 65% to 34% in the district.



Troy Carter, Karen Peterson advance to runoff in Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District

State Senators Troy Carter (D) and Karen Peterson (D) received the most votes in the March 20 special election for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District. Carter received 36% of the vote, and Peterson received 23%. Under Louisiana’s majority-vote system, Carter and Peterson will advance to a runoff election on April 24. Fifteen candidates—8 Democrats, 4 Republicans, 2 Independents, and one Libertarian—ran in the primary.

The 2nd Congressional District became vacant after Cedric Richmond (D) was appointed senior adviser to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. President Joe Biden (D) announced Richmond’s appointment on November 17, 2020

Richmond was first elected in 2011. Since 2000, the seat has been occupied by a Democrat except from 2008 to 2010, when it was represented by Joseph Cao (R). Richmond was re-elected in 2020 with 63.9% of the vote.



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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Special election primary to be held in Louisiana House district

A special election primary is being held on March 20 for District 82 of the Louisiana House of Representatives. Raymond Delaney Jr. (D), Edwin Connick (R), and Laurie Schlegel (R) are running in the primary. The general election, if needed, is scheduled 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% of the vote. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election, regardless of their partisan affiliation.

The special election became necessary after Charles Henry (R) resigned his seat on January 12. Henry was elected to the state House in 2019 with 70.5% of the vote.

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. Republicans control the state Senate by a 27-12 margin and the state House by a 67-35 margin with two independents and one vacancy. Democrat John Bel Edwards was elected governor of Louisiana in 2015.

As of March, 29 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Candy Christophe (D), Julia Letlow (R), and 10 other candidates running to represent Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District

Twelve candidates are running in a March 20 special primary election to represent Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District. The election was called to fill the vacancy left after Congressman-elect Luke Letlow (R) died in December 2020. 

The 12 candidates who filed for the seat include nine Republicans, two independents, and one Democrat. Heading into the election, Candy Christophe (D) and Julia Letlow (R) have led the field in media coverage.

Christophe has worked as a business owner and social worker. Cristophe, the only Democrat running, has an endorsement from the state Democratic Party. Her campaign platform includes addressing unemployment in the district, supporting small businesses and farmers, and investing in infrastructure.

Letlow’s professional experience includes working as a teacher and educational administrator. Her endorsers include the state Republican Party and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Letlow said she and her late husband Luke Letlow (R) shared a vision for the district that included investing in jobs and rural development, supporting agriculture, and supporting education.

Before 2021, Louisiana’s 5th was represented by Ralph Abraham (R), who won re-election outright in the 2018 primary with 67% of the vote to Jessee Carlton Fleenor’s (D) 30%. In the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) defeated Joe Biden (D) 65% to 34% in the district.

Christophe was also a candidate in the 2020 primary election. That year, Luke Letlow and Lance Harris (R) advanced to the general election with 33.1% and 16.6% of the vote, respectively. Christophe placed third with 16.4% of the vote. Luke Letlow won the general election against Harris 62% to 38%.

Under the Louisiana majority-vote system, all candidates run in a single primary election. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters advance to a general election. If necessary, the general election for this seat will take place on April 24.

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Supporters, opponents of Louisiana constitutional amendment on abortion raised over $1 million in 2020

Louisiana Pro-Life Amendment Coalition, the campaign in support of Louisiana Amendment 1, and Louisiana for Personal Freedoms, the opposition campaign, reported receiving a combined total of $1.1 million in contributions for the 2020 election cycle. 

Louisiana voters approved Amendment 1 in November 2020 by a vote of 62.06% to 37.94%. It added language to the Louisiana Constitution stating that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

According to the latest campaign finance reports filed February 17, Louisiana Pro-Life Amendment Coalition reported $681,191 in contributions. The top donors to the coalition included:
• LA Right to Life Educational Committee – $280,000
• Edward L. Rispone – $50,000
• Donald T. Bollinger – $25,000
• Kenneth Wood Sr. – $25,000
• William Henry Shane Jr. – $20,000

Louisiana for Personal Freedoms reported $428,824 in cash and in-kind contributions. The top donors to the committee included:
• BYP 100 – $150,000
• Open Society – $100,00
• Lift Louisiana – $80,758.12
• Planned Parenthood Action Fund – $51,448
• Catholics for Choice – $5,000

As of 2021, at least 10 states, according to The Guttmacher Institute, provided a state constitutional right to abortion based on court rulings. Ballotpedia has identified six ballot measures to amend state constitutions to declare that nothing in the state constitution provides a right to abortion. In Tennessee (2014), Alabama (2018), West Virginia (2018), and Louisiana (2020), these constitutional amendments were passed. In Massachusetts (1986) and Florida (2012), these constitutional amendments were defeated.

Kansas voters will be deciding a similar measure in August 2022 to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion and that the state legislature has the authority to pass laws regarding abortion. The amendment was a response to the Kansas Supreme Court ruling in Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt (2019), in which the court decided that the Kansas Bill of Rights includes a right to abortion.

Louisiana Amendment 1 was referred to the ballot by the state legislature in June 2019. A two-thirds vote is needed in each chamber of the Louisiana State Legislature to refer a constitutional amendment.

Committees registered to support or oppose all 129 statewide measures on the ballot in 2020 reported a combined total of $1.23 billion in contributions.

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Three candidates file to run in Louisiana House District 82 special election

Candidates interested in running in the special election for the District 82 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives had until January 27, 2021, to file. The primary is scheduled for March 20, and the 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% of the vote. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election, regardless of their partisan affiliation.

Three candidates—Raymond Delaney Jr. (D), Edwin Connick (R), and Laurie Schlegel (R)—filed to run in the special election.

The special election became necessary after Charles Henry (R) resigned his seat on January 12. Henry was elected to the state House in 2019 with 70.5% of the vote.

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. Republicans control the state Senate by a 27-12 margin and the state House by a 66-35 margin with two independents and two vacancies. Democrat John Bel Edwards was elected governor of Louisiana in 2015.

As of January 2021, 25 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

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Four candidates file to run for two Louisiana appellate judgeships

A special primary election for two of the 53 seats on the Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal is scheduled for March 20, 2021. The filing deadline passed on January 22. Elections to the court are partisan, and a full term is 10 years. If needed, a general election is scheduled for April 24, 2021.

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% 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. 

Three candidates filed to run in the Second Circuit Court of Appeal District 1 race. Democrats Marcus Hunter, Larry D. Jefferson, and J. Garland Smith qualified for the special primary.

In the Second Circuit Court of Appeal District 2 race, Republican Jeff Robinson was the only candidate to file. Because the number of candidates was equal to the number of seats up for election, both the primary and the general elections were canceled. Robinson was declared elected without his name appearing on the ballot.

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