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Louisiana Special Elections Headed to Runoffs

April runoffs are on tap in two Louisiana House districts following the voting in special primaries Saturday. In the 1st district, state Sen. Steve Scalise and state Rep. Tim Burns are headed to an April 5 Republican runoff after Scalise fell just short of capturing 50 percent of the vote in Saturday’s GOP primary. With all 505 precincts reporting in the suburban New Orleans district, Scalise had 48 percent of the vote and Burns had 28 percent. Slidell Mayor Ben Morris took 21 percent. The winner of the April runoff will be heavily favored over college professor Gilda Reed (D) in the May 4 special election to replace Bobby Jindal (R), who resigned his House seat in January after being elected governor. Meanwhile, in the Baton Rouge-area 6th district, two state Representatives, Don Cazayoux and Michael Jackson, are headed for a Democratic runoff in April. But shortly before midnight on Saturday night, it was unclear whether the Republicans also would have to have a runoff next month. In the five-way Democratic contest, with 382 of 512 precincts reporting, Cazayoux had 40 percent of the vote and Jackson had 25 percent. On the Republican side, former state Rep. Woody Jenkins, the GOP’s nominee for U.S. Senate in 1996, was just above 50 percent of the vote – enough to avoid a runoff next month if that trend holds. Business consultant Laurinda Calongne had 26 percent and Paul Sawyer, ex-Rep. Richard Baker’s (R-La.) former chief of staff, was at 22 percent. Although the district that Baker recently left leans Republican, Democrats believe they have a shot in the May special election regardless of who the two nominees are. – Josh Kurtz

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