CBS News projects that Republican Julia Letlow will win the special election for Louisiana’s 5th district, taking over the would-be seat of her late husband, Luke Letlow, who died of COVID-19 complications days before he could be sworn in.
She will be the first Republican woman to represent Louisiana in Congress, and will boost the number of Republican women currently serving in the house to a record 31.
“This is an incredible moment and it is truly hard to put into words,” Letlow said in a statement Saturday night. “What was born out of the terrible tragedy of losing my husband, Luke, has become my mission in his honor to carry the torch and serve the good people of Louisiana’s 5th District. I am humbled that you would entrust me with the honor of your vote and the privilege to serve you in Congress. A simple thank you doesn’t fully encapsulate the depth of my gratitude.”
Letlow was endorsed by both former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence, as well as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise. Potential 2024 Republican candidate and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley also endorsed her.
Her husband was on track to succeed Representative Ralph Abraham for the large northeastern Louisiana seat after he won the GOP runoff in early December 2020. He had previously worked as a campaign manager and chief of staff to Abraham. He died December 29, 2020 at 41 years old.
In her campaign announcement, Letlow said she was “running to continue the mission Luke started — to stand up for our Christian values, to fight for our rural agriculture communities, and to deliver real results to move our state forward.”
She had signaled that she would run to keep the seat in 2022.