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Inside Politics

Louisiana district to be decided in December

7th Congressional District to go to runoff


vert.boustany.ap.jpg
Charles Boustany, left, shown in a file photo with Vice President Dick Cheney.
SPECIAL REPORT
House: LA 07 Updated: 5:33 p.m. ET
Boustany 39%
Mount 25%
100% precincts reporting
Election Results Main Page

(CNN) -- The race to fill Democrat Chris John's seat in Louisiana's 7th District pitted three Democrats (Malcolm Carriere and state senators Willie Mount and Donald Cravins Sr.) against two Republicans (retired heart surgeon Charles Boustany Jr. and professor David Thibodaux).

With only a few ballots remaining to be counted -- and that may take a few days -- Boustany had about 39 percent of the vote and Mount had received approximately 25 percent.

The top two candidates will meet in a December runoff.

The district is heavily Democratic, and the potential for splitting the Republican vote between two candidates was a concern for the GOP. While Boustany routed Thibodaux in fund-raising, Thibodaux refused to bow out of the seemingly unwinnable election, creating the possibility that two Democrats would end up in a runoff.

National Republican Party officials made no secret of their endorsement of Boustany, as evidenced by Vice President Dick Cheney's appearance at a rally for the candidate in September. Something worked, because a late-October poll showed Boustany in a statistical dead heat with Mount and Cravins.

At an election forum held in late October, the four candidates in attendance (Carriere was absent) split along party lines on the minimum wage debate. Mount and Cravins favored an increase, while Boustany and Thibodaux did not. All four said they supported tax breaks to help middle- and low-income families, and all agreed that a toll might be the answer to funding the completion of Interstate 49.

When asked if they would support the war in Iraq if a decision were to be made now, only Cravin gave a direct response. He said no, while the other three merely said the U.S. needs to finish the job and allow the troops to return home.

Boustany received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) in 1978 and his Doctorate of Medicine in 1982 from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. Boustany closed his 14-year-old private practice earlier this year when he decided to try to become the first Republican to represent the 7th District in the House.

Cravins was an insurance agent until he entered public service in 1991, when he was elected to the Louisiana Legislature from Senate District 24.

Mount served 6 1/2 years as the first female Mayor of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and was the first woman elected to the Louisiana state Senate from District 27.

Thibodaux has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, an M.A. in English (also from ULL) and Doctor of Philosophy from Kansas State University. He was an associate professor at ULL for 24 years.

Carriere is a union organizer and former pipeline welder.


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