BATON ROUGE, La. (Daily Advertiser) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards will likely call a special election on March 20 to fill the 5th Congressional District seat of the late Luke Letlow, who died Tuesday from COVID-19 complications. He was 41.

Letlow, R-Start, had been elected to replace incumbent Congressman Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, who didn’t seek reelection to honor a three-term limit pledge he made in 2014. 

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said he spoke to Edwards late Tuesday night to discuss options.

Ardoin said the special election will likely be combined with a 2nd Congressional District election to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, who will vacate his seat to join the leadership team of President-elect Joe Biden.

The special elections for Congress would coincide with already scheduled spring elections on March 20 for the primary and April 27 for a runoff.

“The governor has the authority to set the election dates,” Ardoin said.

Until then the 5th Congressional District will be without a representative once Abraham’s term expires this week and the new Congress is sworn-in Sunday.

Abraham told USA Today Network he is exploring options to keep some 5th District staff in place without Abraham to serve constituents until the election.

“We’re seeing if there may be some kind of special waiver,” Abraham said. “We can’t leave the constituents high and dry.”

Abraham said he won’t reverse course and seek another term. “No, I don’t think that’s on my radar,” he said, while conceding some people have asked him to do so.

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