Former congressional staffer Luke Letlow, capitalizing on his time running 5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham’s (R-Alto) office, easily won the double-Republican runoff election on Saturday. Mr. Letlow defeated state Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria), 62-38%, which was similar to the ratio that he recorded in the original blanket primary election held November 3rd.
The LA-5 result now means that the only uncalled House race lies in New York, where 22nd District freshman incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) trails former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) by 12 votes with 809 ballots being disputed. The IA-2 race has been state certified for state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa) as a six-vote win, but Democrat Rita Hart has taken the result to the House Administration Committee for their review.
Under Louisiana election law, all candidates are placed onto what the state leaders term a “blanket primary” (others call it a “jungle primary”) on the general election day, in the case for 2020, November 3rd. If no one receives an outright majority, the top two finishers advance into a runoff election scheduled for the first Saturday in December.
Tomorrow, two Republicans, former congressional chief of staff Luke Letlow, the first-place finisher on November 3rd with 33% of the vote, and state Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria) who slipped into second place over Democrat Candy Christophe by 428 votes. With only two Republicans on the ballot, the GOP is assured of holding the seat from which three-term Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto) is retiring. Tomorrow’s winner would represent a safe Republican district for this term with a strong chance of most of the current constituency remaining intact after redistricting.
Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond’s (D-New Orleans) announcement that he would resign from Congress to accept a position in the Biden Administration before January 20th has already led to a pair of state legislators declaring their candidacy for the eventual special election. State Sens. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) and Troy Carter (D-New Orleans) appear to the be the first of many to enter the new campaign. It is expected that more than a dozen individuals will become candidates.
Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) will schedule the special election once Rep. Richmond officially resigns. It is likely the special election calendar will coincide with the municipal elections already scheduled for March 20th with a runoff date of April 24.
Yesterday, Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans) announced that he would resign his seat in the House to accept a position in the Biden Administration. The Congressman is slated to become a senior advisor to the President and the Director of the Office of Public Engagement. This means we will see a special election held in the LA-2 district. Since the seat is heavily Democratic, we can expect a double-Democratic runoff election after a jungle primary is scheduled and held.
The Republicans have now gained a net of 9 seats in the House with five races remaining uncalled. In the five outstanding contests, Republicans lead in four.
One of them, in Iowa, has been certified as a 47-vote win for state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa), but Democratic nominee Rita Hart has requested a recount in all 24 of the 2nd District’s counties, which began yesterday. Republicans, including Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA), hold tenuous leads in the two remaining California races. Former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) looks poised to re-claim New York’s 22nd District, and Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) continues to lead as final counting winds down in his New Jersey re-election race.
Another race will be decided in a Louisiana December 5th runoff election. There, former congressional aide Luke Letlow and state Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria) will advance to a secondary vote. Since both are Republicans, the GOP is assured of holding the open seat regardless of the outcome.
Since seven House races were called yesterday, we now see 16 congressional contests called, eight of which are in New York and three in California.
Below is the list of the outstanding races and their current status:
AK-AL: Rep. Don Young (R)
Status: 59.2%; Reporting 69%
R+ 43,761 votes
CA-21: David Valadao (R)
Status: 51.4% ; Reporting 71%
R+ 4,041 votes
CA-25: Rep. Mike Garcia (R)
Status: 50.0%; Reporting 86%
R+ 159 votes
CA-39: Young Kim (R)
Status: 50.6%; Reporting 97%
R+ 4,168 votes
IA-2: Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R)
Status: 50.0%; Reporting 100%
R+ 40 votes
IL-14: Rep. Lauren Underwood (D)
Status: 50.4%; Reporting 100%
D+ 3,524 votes
LA-5: Luke Letlow (R)
Status: 33.1%; Reporting 100%
Runoff - Dec 5
NY-1: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R)
Status: 61.3%; Reporting 100%
R+ 65,120 votes
NY-2: Andrew Garbarino (R)
Status: 57.8%; Reporting 100%
R+ 44,898 votes
NY-3: George Santos (R)
Status: 50.5%; Reporting 100%
R+ 4,171 votes
NY-11: Nicole Malliotakis (R)
Status: 57.9%; Reporting 95%
R+ 37,158 votes
NY-18: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D)
Status: 51.0%; Reporting 100%
D+ 7,896 votes
NY-19: Rep. Antonio Delgado (D)
Status: 50.4%; Reporting 100%
D+ 7,893 votes
NY-22: Claudia Tenney (R)
Status: 54.5%; Reporting 100%
R+ 28,394 votes
NY-24: Rep. John Katko (R)
Status: 58.5%; Reporting 100%
R+ 55,102 votes
UT-4: Burgess Owens (R)
Status: 47.6%; Reporting 95%
R+ 1,780 votes
13 of 16 R Leads
Louisiana has the latest developing federal elections because their jungle primary isn’t until Election Day, November 3rd. If no candidate receives majority support, the top two will advance to a runoff election on December 5th. Until now, little has developed against Sen. Bill Cassidy (R) who is seeking a second term this year.
With candidate filing closing this Friday, Sen. Cassidy now has his first significant opponent. Announcing his candidacy is Democratic Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins, who is capable of waging a credible statewide campaign. Sen. Cassidy is the prohibitive favorite, but we now have a campaign to watch.
Primaries and runoffs are still on the political horizon, but July is a light electoral month. Tomorrow, the postponed New Jersey statewide primary will be held, and a new extensive mail voting procedure will be tested as all registered voters were sent a live ballot. The Delaware stand-alone presidential primary will also be conducted. The regular statewide Delaware primary is the latest in the nation, scheduled for September 15th. Stand-alone presidential primaries will also be held this month in Louisiana (7/11) and Puerto Rico (7/12).
July 14th hosts runoff elections in Alabama and Texas. The important US Senate Republican contest between retired Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville and ex-US Attorney General and former Senator Jeff Sessions will be finally be decided that day. Runoffs in the open 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts will also send contestants to the respective general elections in what should be safe Republican seats. The original Alabama runoff election date was March 31st.
Texas holds a US Senate Democratic runoff and 15 House secondary elections postponed from May 26th. From the latter group, nine Republican contests and six Democratic electoral events will finally determine general election participants. The Texas and Alabama primaries were held all the way back on March 3rd.
Maine holds its postponed primary also on July 14th. State House Speaker Sara Gideon is a heavy favorite to win the Democratic US Senate nomination to face incumbent Susan Collins (R). Three credible Republicans are vying for the opportunity of challenging freshman Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) in what is likely to be a competitive 2nd District general election campaign.
Election officials in Louisiana announced on Friday that the April 4th presidential primary has been postponed to a future date in response to the COVID-19 virus. No subsequent date has yet been decided. The North Dakota Democratic Party has also announced that next weekend’s state party convention has also been postponed to an uncertain future date. At this point, the Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio primaries, scheduled for Tuesday, are still moving forward as planned.
Three-term US Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto/Monroe), who ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 2019 and originally self-term limited to six years in the House, announced yesterday that he will keep his promise and retire at the end of the current Congress. This yields an open seat in north/central Louisiana, and we can expect to see multiple candidates come forward well before the July 17th candidate filing deadline.
Louisiana employs the jungle primary system but holds their election concurrently with the regular general. If no one receives majority support on November 3rd, which will be likely, the top two finishers advance into a December 5th run-off contest. Mr. Abraham’s departure means there are 42 open seats headed into the next election, with 31 coming from the Republican column as compared to only 11 from the majority Democrat category.
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