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Each Party Grabs a Seat in Louisiana Runoffs

House Republicans and Democrats traded seats Saturday in the final two contests of the 2004 cycle: runoff races in Louisiana’s 3rd and 7th districts.

The race in the southeastern 3rd district, which had been held for the past 24 years by Rep. Billy Tauzin (R), was won by former state Rep. Charlie Melancon (D).

Melancon, the immediate past president of the American Sugar Cane League, bested former Bellsouth lobbyist Billy Tauzin III (the Republican is the youngest son of the retiring Congressman) by just 512 votes out of more than 114,000 cast.

Tauzin III did not immediately concede, choosing instead to wait until Tuesday when the voting machines will be opened. A challenge is not likely, however.

Across the state in the open 7th district, cardiac surgeon Charles Boustany (R) cruised to a 55 percent to 45 percent victory over state Sen. Willie Mount (D). Boustany’s win breaks the stranglehold Democrats have had on the Cajun Country seat for more than 30 years.

Rep. Chris John (D) vacated the seat after four terms to make an unsuccessful run for the Senate. His predecessor in the seat was outgoing Sen. John Breaux (D), the man he sought to follow again. Former Gov. Edwin Edwards (D) held the 7th prior to Breaux.

With the results from Saturday’s election, Republicans now control 232 seats to the Democrats’ 202 seats. Rep. Bernie Sanders, the House’s lone Independent, caucuses with the Democrats.

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