MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Three of Louisiana’s congressional races remain unsettled, to be decided in a December runoff election.
In addition to casting ballots for president, Louisiana voters Tuesday whittled the list of U.S. Senate candidates to two, re-elected four incumbent congressmen, sent two U.S. House races to runoffs and decided the fate of six constitutional amendments.
Louisiana’s eight presidential electoral votes went to Republican Donald Trump.
As expected, voters in the state Tuesday selected Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton and 11 other third party contenders. Louisiana was considered so solidly in the Republican column for the presidential election that Trump and Clinton spent little time campaigning in the state.
Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy and Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell are headed to a Dec. 10 runoff for Louisiana’s open U.S. Senate seat.
The men were the top two vote-getters among two dozen contenders for the job.
Candidates who didn’t reach the runoff included: Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, Democratic lawyer Caroline Fayard and Republican U.S. Rep. John Fleming.
White supremacist David Duke, a state lawmaker more than 20 years ago, was defeated in his effort to return to elected office.
The seat is open because Republican David Vitter didn’t run for re-election.
More than $14 million had been spent by candidates ahead of the election.
All four of Louisiana’s incumbent congressmen who were seeking to return to their seats easily won their re-election bids, with opponents who did little fundraising or campaigning.
Among the GOP incumbents, U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, the third-ranking House Republican, will get a fifth term representing the southeast Louisiana-based 1st District seat. U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham won a second term representing the 5th District covering northeast and central Louisiana. And U.S. Rep. Garret Graves was successful in his bid for a second term representing the Baton Rouge-based 6th District.
The only Democrat in Louisiana’s congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond also defeated his opponents to reach a fourth term representing the 2nd District, which includes most of New Orleans and runs up the Mississippi River into part of Baton Rouge. Richmond’s main challenger was Baton Rouge mayor Kip Holden, a Democrat.
U.S. HOUSE-OPEN SEATS
Two Republicans will face off in the Dec. 10 election for the open 3rd District U.S. House seat representing southwest and south central Louisiana: Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, the third-place finisher in last year’s governor’s race, and former sheriff’s Capt. Clay Higgins, dubbed the “Cajun John Wayne.”
The two men bested 10 other candidates, including Republican businessmen Greg Ellison and Gus Rantz, Republican former state Rep. Brett Geymann and Democrat Larry Rader, president of the Port of Iberia.
Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District seat representing northwest Louisiana also won’t be decided until a runoff. As the lone Democrat, Shreveport lawyer Marshall Jones locked up a runoff spot. He’ll face Republican state Rep. Mike Johnson of Benton.
The two were the highest vote-getters of eight contenders. Other Republicans who had been vying for the job included Shreveport cardiologist Trey Baucum, Shreveport City Council member Oliver Jenkins, Shreveport lawyer Rick John and former state Sen. Elbert Guillory of Opelousas.
The seats are open because Boustany and Fleming ran for the Senate instead of re-election.
Voters in south Louisiana chose Republican Jimmy Genovese to be a new justice for the Louisiana Supreme Court’s 3rd District representing the Lafayette and Lake Charles areas. Also in the southwest and stretching into central Louisiana, Republican Mike Francis bested three opponents for a seat on Louisiana’s utility regulatory board, the Public Service Commission.
There were six proposals to change the Louisiana Constitution.
— Voters approved Amendment 1, which will enact residency, education and experience qualifications for new registrars of voters.
— Voters rejected Amendment 2, which would have given Louisiana’s four public college system management boards the authority to change tuition and fee rates on college campuses without needing approval from state lawmakers.
— Voters rejected Amendment 3, which would have done away with a tax break that allows businesses to deduct the federal income taxes they pay from their state tax liability. Corporations in exchange would have been taxed at a flat rate of 6.5 percent, rather than varying rates from 4 percent to 8 percent, starting in 2017.
— Voters approved Amendment 4, which will exempt the surviving spouses of military personnel, police officers or firefighters killed in the line of duty from having to pay local property taxes on their homes.
— Voters approved Amendment 5, which will create a new Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund to be filled with oil and gas revenue and corporate taxes when those collections are higher than usual. Once the fund reaches $5 billion, up to 10 percent could be spent on construction projects and roadwork. Another portion of oil and gas money will pay down state retirement debt.
— Voters rejected Amendment 6, which would have made it easier for lawmakers to tap into protected funds when the state faces financial troubles.
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