LIVE UPDATES: Voters go to the polls in 2 special US House elections in Louisiana

Karen Carter Peterson
In this Jan. 20, 2021, file photo, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, speaks in Baton Rouge, La., about her campaign for the 2nd Congressional District seat after signing up for the race.

  • Louisianans are voting in two special US House elections on Saturday.
  • The elections will fill vacancies in the 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts.
  • Follow along for live results from Insider and Decision Desk HQ when polls close at 8 p.m. CT.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Louisiana is holding special elections for two vacant US House seats on Saturday, March 20. Polls close at 8 p.m. Central Time.

The 2nd District, which is based in southern Louisiana and includes part of the Baton Rouge area and all of New Orleans, was vacated by former Rep. Cedric Richmond, who left Congress to serve in the White House as a senior advisor to President Joe Biden.

The leading contenders for the safely-Democratic seat, which gave Biden over 75% of the vote in 2020, are State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, Sen. Troy Carter, and Gary Chambers.

Richmond has endorsed Carter as his replacement, while Peterson has received the backing of EMILY’s List and Stacey Abrams, according to Ballotpedia.

In the 5th District, Rep.-elect Luke Letlow, who was elected to succeed retiring Rep. Ralph Abraham, died of COVID-19 on December 29, 2020, before he was able to assume office.

The GOP frontrunner for the 5th District seat is Letlow’s widow, Julia Letlow, who works as an administrator at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

The 5th District, which contains a large portion of eastern Louisiana, is safely Republican, backing former President Donald Trump by a margin of over 30 percentage points in 2020, according to Daily Kos.

Louisiana uses a “jungle” election system where all the candidates from all parties run in the same primary, instead of separate primaries for each party.

If neither candidate earns over 50% of the vote, the top two will advance to a general runoff on April 24, with the winners seated in Congress shortly after.

There are currently five total vacancies in the House, creating a precarious situation for Democratic leaders presiding over a narrow eight-seat majority of 219-211 with some seats set to be vacant for months.

The special election to replace the late Republican Rep. Ron Wright of Texas’s 6th District, who died of COVID-19 on February 7, will take place on May 1.

And two representatives from safely Democratic seats, former Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico and former Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, were tapped to serve in Biden’s cabinet as Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, respectively.

The special election to replace Haaland will take place on June 1, with the nominees selected by party committees. The primary to replace Fudge in Ohio’s 11th District will be on August 3 and the general election on November 2.

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