Letlow and Harris head to runoff for 5th District congressional seat, but recount may happen

Democrat Candy Christophe will ask for recount

The U.S. Capitol. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Republicans Luke Letlow and state Rep. Lance Harris advanced to a runoff election for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to unofficial results from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office. That election, which will determine the area’s next representative in Washington, will be held Dec. 5. 

Letlow clinched 33 percent of the vote in a race with nine candidates, including five Republicans and four Democrats. Harris, who took 17 percent, was the Louisiana House Republican Caucus chairman from 2012 to 2020.

The 24-parish 5th District has meandering lines stretching west from Bogalusa to Opelousas and then north all the way to the Louisiana-Arkansas border, roping in Alexandria, much of Central Louisiana and Monroe along the way. It is 65 percent white and 53 percent Democratic but went for Trump in 2016.

The 5th district seat has been left open by U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, who is retiring after serving three terms. 

The two prominent Republicans from the Monroe area were Letlow, Abraham’s chief of staff, and Scotty Robinson, of West Monroe, a Ouachita Parish police juror, though Robinson received only eight percent of the vote. Letlow had Abraham’s backing.

The other prominent Republican, Harris of Alexandria, squeaked ahead of Democrat Sandra “Candy” Christophe, also of Alexandria. Only 456 votes were the difference between Harris and Christophe making the run-off with frontrunner Letlow. 

Christophe’s campaign staff said they would be requesting a recount if the 456-vote difference stays the same.

“We will be seeking a recount,” Christophe’s spokeswoman Sherri Gentle said. “Candy ran her race with excellence and integrity, and we did it as a grassroots organization.”

The Harris campaign could not be reached late Tuesday night. Letlow’s campaign is expected to release a statement Wednesday morning.

Other Republicans included Allen Guillory Sr. from Opelousas, who collected 7 percent, and Pineville’s Matt Hasty, who got 3 percent.

In addition to Christophe, the Democratic candidates included Martin Lemelle Jr. of Ruston, who took 10 percent, as well as Phillip Snowden of Monroe and Amite’s Jesse P. Lagarde, who collected 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

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Wesley Muller
Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the following 22 years since then, he has worked as a journalist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. Much of his work has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and watchdog coverage of municipal and state government. He has received several honors and recognitions, including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus, a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper, and an adjunct English teacher at Baton Rouge Community College. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his teenage son and his wife, who is also a journalist.