Tag Archives: Luke Letlow

One Down, 4 Special Elections to Go

By Jim Ellis

March 26, 2021 — Though Rep-Elect Julia Letlow’s (R) victory in Louisiana last Saturday completed one special congressional election, four others are still in-cycle and fresh ballot test data was just released from the Texas seat.

Next up on the schedule is the LA-2 double-Democratic runoff between state Sens. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans) and Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) on April 24. Next, on May 1, voters in Texas’ 6th District will go to the polls to begin the replacement process for the late Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington). Replacing Biden cabinet members and ex-Reps. Deb Haaland and Marcia Fudge will occur on June 1 and Nov. 2, respectively, in New Mexico and Ohio.

As in Louisiana, the Texas race features the late incumbent’s widow running, but a new poll suggests that Susan Wright’s support is not as deep as Letlow’s in neighboring Louisiana. On Saturday, Letlow, whose late husband, Luke Letlow, passed away three weeks after he won the December 2020 runoff election, scored a landslide 65 percent outright victory over 11 opponents.

In the North Texas race, the Democratic firm Global Strategy Group recently surveyed the 6th District electorate for their client, candidate Lydia Bean (D), during the March 11-16 period and interviewed 500 likely special election voters.

While the results found Wright leading the pack of 23 candidates, she reached only 18 percent support but that was nine percentage points better than her closest opponent, 2018 Democratic congressional nominee Jana Lynne Sanchez.

Freshman state representative and 2018 Republican congressional candidate, Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie), the only sitting elected official in the massive candidate field, followed closely behind with eight percent support. Bean, a non-profit organization founder, and former George W. Bush White House aide Brian Harrison were next, posting six percent apiece.

The results suggest that Wright has a clear lead, her advantage is by no means insurmountable and, at this point in the special election cycle, the data is certainly pointing to a pair of candidates advancing into a runoff election.

Under Texas special election procedure, the governor does not schedule the secondary election until it is clear that the runoff is necessary, and the participants chosen. In this case, we won’t know the date of the next election after May 1. It is presumed, however, that Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will schedule the runoff in mid to late July.

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LA-5: Letlow Wins Runoff

Luke Letlow, Louisiana (LA-5) Republican

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 8, 2020 — Luke Letlow, who had served as chief of staff to Louisiana 5th District incumbent Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto) up until the time he announced his candidacy to replace the retiring congressman, convincingly won Saturday’s double-Republican runoff election to claim the open seat contest as we noted yesterday.

With his victory, Letlow becomes the 212th Republican heading toward the new session of Congress with one campaign uncalled (NY-22) and another being challenged (IA-2). Majority Democrats currently have 222 clinched seats.

Letlow defeated state Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria), 62-38 percent, winning all but one of the district’s 24 parishes. At total of 79,309 voters participated in the runoff election, a 15 percent turnout of the district’s 528,278 registered voters. The Letlow victory margin was just over 19,000 votes.

In the original “blanket primary” election on Nov. 3, Letlow placed first with 33 percent of the vote as compared to Rep. Harris’ 17 percent to create the double Republican secondary election. Harris slipped past Democrat Candy Christophe by 428 votes in the original vote in order to qualify for the runoff and effectively secure the seat for the Republicans. The Nov. 3 election saw a 5th District turnout rate of 70.1 percent.

The “blanket primary” is the phrase Louisianans use to describe the system more commonly described as a “jungle primary.” That is, all candidates appear on the same ballot regardless of political party affiliation and the top two advance into a runoff election if no one receives majority support in the original vote. The Bayou State was the first to adopt this system and originally did so in 1978.

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Friday’s LA-5 Runoff

Louisiana state Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria) attacks opposing candidate and fellow Republican Luke Letlow over enriching himself during his career in politics.

By Jim Ellis

Monday, Dec. 7, 2020 — The Jan. 5, 2021 Georgia US Senate runoffs are not the only post-election secondary campaign contests, even though they dominate the national political attention since their outcomes will determine the chamber majority. The nation’s other runoff election was scheduled for this past Saturday in northeastern Louisiana for the state’s 5th Congressional District.

A little background on the race: Unlike Georgia, there was no suspense as to which party wins the seat – both Louisiana contenders are Republicans – but the identity of the winning candidate was in question up till Friday.

Luke Letlow finished first on Nov. 3 (33.1 percent) from a field of nine candidates in what is termed a “blanket primary” in Louisiana but a “jungle primary” elsewhere. He also finished first Saturday, Dec. 5. More analysis tomorrow from that. The candidate field Nov. 3 consisted of five Republicans and four Democrats, and Letlow doubled the vote total of his nearest competitor. State Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria) finished second (16.5 percent), qualifying for the runoff by just 428 votes over third-place finisher Candy Christophe, the top Democratic contender.

Letlow is a former chief of staff to retiring Congressman Ralph Abraham (R-Alto), who is honoring a term-limits pledge to only serve three terms. Dr. Abraham was a 2019 Republican gubernatorial candidate, losing the Republican nomination to businessman Eddie Rispone by three percentage points. Rispone would then fall to Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) in the November ’19 runoff on a 51-49 percent count.

Letlow served as Rep. Abraham’s chief during his entire congressional career up until the time he (Letlow) declared his own candidacy. Prior to that, the 2020 top 5th District vote-getter held a position in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration.

Lance Harris is a convenience store chain business owner and farmer who was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2011. He was unopposed in his succeeding re-election campaigns, those in 2015 and 2019.

Harris’ parents were missionaries in China and became prisoners of the Communist regime. They survived captivity and were released, only to be killed in a car accident in 1984 after returning to Louisiana. Harris explains that his parents’ experience drives him to fight socialism, which is why he entered elective politics after establishing his career in business.

While the contest was fairly quiet in the blanket primary, the runoff turned combative. Harris attacked Letlow for his career in politics (see ad at top), citing in his ads that his opponent has made “over $1 million in working for politicians including Bobby Jindal” and then worked as a lobbyist.

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Outstanding Races Near Conclusions

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 23, 2020 — We are now down to four undetermined US House campaigns and one that will go to a double Republican runoff on Dec. 5.

Last week, the NJ-7 race that was called for Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) on election night but rescinded when the post-election votes were drawing state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) close to dead heat range, has now culminated. Again, Rep. Malinowski was determined to be the winner when the number of uncounted votes became less than the margin between the two candidates.

The open 5th District in Louisiana is headed to a Dec. 5 runoff election. Here, Republicans Luke Letlow and state Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria) will battle to replace retiring Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto). Since both finalists are Republicans, the GOP keeping this seat is not in doubt.

The Iowa 2nd District race between state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa) and former state senator and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Rita Hart (D) continues in full recount. Miller-Meeks had a 47-vote lead as the recount began. Under Iowa law, the leader has been certified as the winner, but that would change should the recount produce a different result.

Hart filed recount petitions in all of the district’s 24 counties. The various election officials have 18 days to complete their additional canvass, which means we should see a conclusion here sometime near Dec. 1.

In New York, counting continues in the 22nd District where former US Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) continues to lead freshman Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) by a relatively substantial margin as the number of uncounted ballots slowly dwindles. The latest count finds the former congresswoman and ex-state Assembly member leading Rep. Brindisi by 10,967 votes according to the CNN count, which appears to have the most updated data.

Almost 292,000 ballots have been counted with an estimated 26,000-plus votes remaining. To overcome the difference, Rep. Brindisi would have to attract approximately 71 percent of the outstanding ballots. In the 2016 election, 296,086 individuals voted in the congressional race. Therefore, if the estimated outstanding total of 26,000-plus is near correct, then turnout would have increased approximately nine percent from the last presidential election turnout model when compared to the current vote.

In the last group of approximately 25,000 votes, Congressman Brindisi garnered closer to 68 percent in reducing Tenney’s lead from 21,812 votes to the current number. Unless the remaining ballots are even more Democratic than the latest batch, Tenney will likely remain in the lead and soon claim victory.

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