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Election to fill Letlow’s seat set for March

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office confirmed last week that a special election will be held in March to fill at least one vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Luke Letlow, 41, died Tuesday, Dec. 29, from complications associated with his hospitalization due to COVID-19. Letlow was set to be sworn in as the congressman for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District, after winning a runoff election in December to succeed three-term U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham. Abraham, a Republican, chose not to seek re-election and endorsed Letlow, a fellow Republican who was also Abraham’s longtime staff member.

The 5th Congressional District includes Washington Parish.

The special election will be held Saturday, March 20, with an April runoff if necessary. Until that time, the seat will be vacant in Congress.

Qualifying for the special election will be held Jan. 20-22.

It is likely the election will also feature the race to replace U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond of New Orleans, who is leaving for a post in president-elect Joe Biden’s administration. Edwards is expected to call for that special election once Richmond submits his resignation.

Letlow, of Start, was admitted to a Monroe hospital with COVID-19 symptoms on Dec. 19, and was later transferred to the intensive care unit at Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport. He died after suffering a “cardiac event,” according to Dr. G.E. Ghali, who oversaw the team treating the congressman-elect.