By T. Scott Boatright
Julia Letlow captured the Louisiana House Seat for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives while Lincoln Parish voters also approved a property tax renewal that generates about $3.9 million annually for the parish sheriff’s office in results from Saturday’s election.
Voters in Dubach also elected a new mayor as challenger Mona Durrett Wilson edged out incumbent Ruby Dawson.
Letlow ran to replace her late husband, Luke, who was elected in November but died of complications from COVID-19 in December at the age of 41 and only days before he would have been sworn into office.
Districtwide, Letlow captured 65% (67,199) of the vote while Sandra “Candy” Christophe, the only Democrat running in that race, came in a distant second with 27% (28,252).
Letlow’s showing in Lincoln Parish was even stronger as she took 67% (4,515) of votes while Cristophe finished with 29% (1,968) of local votes.
A Republican from Richland Parish, Letlow is the first Republican woman from Louisiana elected to the U.S. House. Her election brings the number of Republican women in Congress to 31 — a major change from the end of last cycle, when there were only 13.
Voter turnout for the election was low, standing at around 24% in Lincoln Parish and 21% districtwide.
“This is an incredible moment, and it is truly hard to put into words. 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,” Letlow said via a press release. “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.
“I will be a servant to the people of this district and to be present across the 24 parishes. I will listen more than I speak and seek to find solutions to our region’s challenges. I will partner with yhose across the country who can help us capitalize on our district’s strengths and bring real results home to you. From tonight forward I work for you and it is an honor to do so.”
During her campaign Letlow vowed to uphold conservative Christian values while she would also work to protect unborn children and the right to bear arms.
Former President Donald Trump endorsed her campaign in March, and she is also supported by Winning for Women Action Fund.
She also won big in the battle of fundraising between the 12 candidates running for the seat, raising more than $680,000 while no other candidate raised more than $70,000.
On Sunday, Trump released a statement congratulating her on the win.
“I am thrilled for Julia and the entire Letlow family. Luke is looking down proudly from above,” Trump said.
The 7.83-mill property tax renewal passed easily, with 68% of the vote. The numbers showed 4,340 votes in favor of the 10-year tax and 2,024 votes against it.
That tax generates about 41% of the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office budget, helping pay for most of the LPSO’s operational expenses as well as drug education, prevention and enforcement, and personnel, training and equipment.
In the Dubach mayoral election, Wilson with an eight-vote edge over Dawson, 95-87, with 31.1% of eligible voters casting ballots.
Wilson will be Dubach’s third mayor in less than a year. As then-Mayor Pro Tem, Dawson stepped in as Dubach’s interim mayor in August of 2020 after former Mayor Mary Claire Smith resigned after being hospitalized with COVID-19. Smith died in October of last year from complications arising from a pre-existing medical condition.
Wilson, a local realtor, will serve as mayor through 2022 to fill the remainder of Smith’s term.