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Abortion amendment, Abraham's successor on Louisiana ballot

2 years 7 months 3 days ago Tuesday, November 03 2020 Nov 3, 2020 November 03, 2020 1:27 PM November 03, 2020 in News
Source: Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Five incumbents in Louisiana’s U.S. House delegation face no well-known opposition in Tuesday’s election, but there was a question as to who will represent a heavily Republican district where the incumbent did not seek reelection.

Republican Ralph Abraham is stepping down from his northeast Louisiana-based district. Nine people sought to fill the open seat in what has been a reliably Republican district.

Also on the ballot, along with the races for president and U.S. Senate, were seven proposed changes to the Louisiana Constitution, including one to make sure nothing in the document is construed as granting women the right to abortion.

5th Congressional District

Incumbent Republican Ralph Abraham, an unsuccessful candidate for governor last year, is keeping a self-imposed term-limits vow, bowing out of the House after three terms as the representative from a sprawling northeast Louisiana-based district.

He endorsed his chief of staff, Luke Letlow, as his replacement and Letlow garnered support from others in the Republican House delegation. The question was whether such backing could propel him to an outright victory against eight opponents — three other Republicans and four Democrats — on Tuesday. In Louisiana’s nonpartisan elections, if nobody gets more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers go on to a runoff. This year’s runoff would take place in December.

Federal Election Commission reports showed Letlow with a strong funding advantage over his competitors, including Republicans Randall Scott Harrison, a member of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury; and state Rep. John Lance Harris. Democrats in the race include social worker Sandra Christophe and Martin Lemelle Jr., chief operating officer at Grambling State University.

3rd Congressional District

Two-term incumbent Republican Clay Higgins rose to acclaim in his southwest Louisiana district as a local sheriff’s department captain who made bombastic anti-crime videos.

Since his election, he has courted controversy, most recently with a social media post promising the use of force against armed protesters that was removed by Facebook for violating the company’s violence and incitement policies.

Democrat Rob Anderson, who placed a distant second with 5% of the vote in the district two years ago, is among Higgins’ three challengers this year.

1st Congressional District

Incumbent Steve Scalise, the House Minority Whip, faces two little-known challengers in the reliably Republican district — a Democrat and a Libertarian.

Scalise was first elected to the House in 2008 after years in the Louisiana Legislature.

2nd Congressional District

Incumbent Cedric Richmond, the only Democrat and the only Black member of the state congressional delegation, faces five little-known challengers. He has served in the House since 2011.

Before he won his congressional seat, Richmond was a state representative from New Orleans. He is a co-chair of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

4th Congressional District

Mike Johnson, an attorney who was part of the team of House Republicans who defended President Donald Trump when Trump was impeached, was seeking a third term.

Johnson also serves as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, which touts itself as the largest caucus of conservatives in Congress.

He faced three little-known challengers: Republican Ben Gibson and Democrats Kenny Houston and Ryan Trundle.

6th Congressional District

Republican Garret Graves was first was elected to represent his Baton Rouge-based south Louisiana district in 2014, spoiling a comeback attempt by four-term former Gov. Edwin Edwards, a Democrat.

Easily reelected in subsequent years, he faces three challengers Tuesday: Libertarian Shannon Sloan, independent Richard Torregano and Democrat Dartanyon Williams.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment 1

The first on the ballot of seven proposed amendments to Louisiana’s constitution was one to state, according to ballot language, that “a right to abortion and the funding of abortion shall not be found in the Louisiana Constitution.”

Analysts said passage would have little immediate effect. However, were the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion rights, the amendment would ensure against any court ruling that language in the Louisiana Constitution grants abortion rights.

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