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Louisiana voters will head back to the polls on March 20 to fill the congressional seat of Luke Letlow, who tragically died Tuesday while battling COVID-19, just days before he was due to be sworn in to Congress.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards confirmed Wednesday that the special election for the Pelican State’s 5th Congressional District would coincide with other elections in the spring and the seat would remain vacant until then, the News-Star reported.
The new election will likely be combined with an existing special election in Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District. That seat is being vacated by Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is joining Joe Biden’s cabinet, the paper reported.
Letlow, 41, was receiving treatment in the intensive care at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport when he suffered a heart attack following an operation related to the virus and died.
The Republican father of two first announced he tested positive for the disease on Dec. 18, two weeks after winning the Dec. 5 runoff race.
His health began to deteriorate on Dec. 19 and he was admitted to St. Francis Medical Center, and eventually transferred to Ochsner LSU Health.
Letlow was due to be sworn into the new Congress on Sunday after he was elected to replace GOP Rep. Ralph Abraham, who didn’t seek re-election.
He is survived by his wife, Julia Barnhill Letlow, in addition to his children, 3-year-old Jeremiah and 11-month-old Jacqueline.
At her weekly press conference Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) lamented Letlow’s untimely passing.
“[W]e extend great sympathy to his family. So sad. Forty-one years old. Coronavirus blood clot complications,” Pelosi said.
“This could have happened to anyone and it has to nearly 350,000 Americans,” she added.
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