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COVID Widow Wins Husband's Seat in Congress

Julia Letlow dominated the race
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 21, 2021 6:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – The widow of a Louisiana congressional seat winner who died of complications from COVID before he was able to serve has won the seat herself. Julia Letlow won an impressive 62 percent of a 12-way race after a campaign marked by a dominant fundraising game as well as an endorsement from former President Donald Trump in a special election triggered when Luke Letlow died in December. With the victory, Julia Letlow becomes the third woman ever elected to the US House from Louisiana, the first Republican woman elected to Congress from the state and the only woman among its current congressional delegation. She ran on issues similar to those that her husband discussed during his campaign, and his death was a central theme throughout her own. She talked of supporting agriculture in the largely rural district, expanding broadband internet access and supporting conservative values, per AP.

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Letlow's win will further erode Democrats' majority in the House down to just eight seats, with three vacancies. Farther south, the race to fill a second vacant congressional seat for Louisiana was headed to an April 24 runoff, but the seat was certain to stay in Democratic hands. Two Democratic state senators from New Orleans—Troy Carter and Karen Carter Peterson—secured spots in the runoff after leading the field among 15 candidates. The New Orleans-based 2nd District seat is open because Democrat Cedric Richmond took a job as a special adviser to President Joe Biden. (Read more House of Representatives stories.)

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