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In his first run for elected office, cardiovascular surgeon Charles Boustany Jr. (R) broke a longtime Democratic stranglehold on the southwestern Louisiana 7th district.

Boustany, who led the all-party November primary by 14 points, never gave state Sen. Willie Mount (D) an opening in the Dec. 4 runoff, claiming a 55 percent to 45 percent victory.

The Republican also benefited from several factors outside of his control.

One major reason for the ease of Boustany’s win was outgoing 7th district Rep. Chris John’s (D) inability to make a runoff in the open-seat Senate contest.

Without John at the top of the ticket to drive voters in his political base to the polls, Mount struggled to get people excited about the December race.

Mount didn’t help her own cause either with a campaign that was panned by national Democrats for its lack of a coherent message — especially in its television advertising.

Add to that Mount’s problem with black state Sen. Don Cravins (D), who narrowly missed making the runoff and refused to endorse her candidacy. Cravins’ decision to withhold his support from Mount allowed Boustany to make inroads in traditionally Democratic parishes.

Boustany received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1978. Four years later he got his doctorate in medicine from Louisiana State University. In 1990, he finished his residency at the University of Rochester and moved back to Louisiana to open his own practice. He is now retired.

Boustany and his wife, Bridget, have a son, Erik, and a daughter, Ashley.

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