Julia Letlow wins Louisiana’s 5th District special election

Julia Letlow, widow of Republican U.S. Rep.-elect Luke Letlow, speaks to members of the press at the Louisiana State Archives after signing up to run for the 5th District seat on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. Luke Letlow won a December election for the congressional seat but died of COVID-19 complications in December, before he could be sworn into office. (AP Photo/Brett Duke via CNN)

(CNN) — Republican Julia Letlow will win the special election in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District, CNN projects.

Letlow will take the seat that her late husband Luke, who won last year’s election but died in December after being diagnosed with Covid-19, was never able to hold.

She will make history as the first Republican woman to represent the state in Congress.

A number of prominent Republicans rallied behind her after she announced her campaign for the seat. Former President Donald Trump, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Louisiana GOP Rep. Steve Scalise — the No. 2 House Republican — all endorsed her out of the nine Republicans running for the seat.

Letlow, a first-time candidate, will avoid a runoff because she secured a majority among the 12-person field.

Democrats Troy Carter and Karen Carter Peterson will advance to an April 24 runoff in the special election for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, CNN projects.

The winner of the runoff will fill the seat vacated by Democrat Cedric Richmond, who resigned in January to join the Biden administration.

Carter and Carter Peterson, who are not related, are both Louisiana state senators representing New Orleans.

Carter is the senate minority leader and received Richmond’s endorsement before he resigned from Congress. Carter Peterson served in the Louisiana House for a decade before joining the Senate in 2010 and has also served as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Carter Peterson finished with the second-most votes, receiving about 1,400 more votes than Democrat Gary Chambers, Jr., as of late Saturday night.