Republican Julia Letlow won a special election in Louisiana on Saturday, filling a seat won by her late husband, Luke Letlow, who passed away late last year from coronavirus complications.
In a 12-way race for the 5th District, Letlow defeated her opponents with 62 percent of the vote, bringing the total number of Republican women in Congress to 31.
“This is an incredible moment, and it is truly hard to put into words,” Letlow said in a statement following her victory. “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 “raised more than $680,000 as of the end of February; no other candidate raised more than $70,000,” Politico reported.
In addition to outpacing her challengers in fundraising, Letlow, a mother of two, also received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.
Following her victory, Trump released a statement celebrating Letlow’s win. “Congratulations to Julia Letlow on her BIG win in Louisiana,” Trump stated. “Despite running in a field with a dozen candidates, no runoff election is necessary because she received 65% of the vote—an incredible victory.”
“I am thrilled for Julia and the entire Letlow family,” Trump added. “Luke is looking down proudly from above.”
Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards also offered a congratulatory message to Letlow on the “bittersweet” day, commending her “strength, determination and tenacity.”
“Congratulations to Congresswoman-elect Julia Letlow for her victory tonight in Louisiana’s fifth congressional district,” Edwards said in a statement. “I look forward to working with her on behalf of the people of Louisiana at this critical moment for our state and our nation.
“I will continue to keep her in my prayers just as she has continued to exemplify strength, determination and tenacity in the wake of a terrible tragedy,” Edwards added. “I know that these same characteristics that got her through the last few months will make her an excellent advocate for Louisiana in Washington.”
Letlow’s husband passed away on December 29, five days before he was set to be sworn in as a member of Congress.
“While losing Luke has been devastating, I know that two things can be true at the same time,” Letlow previously stated. “A person can be full of grief while still having hope for the future.”
Letlow earned a Ph.D. in communication from the University of South Florida and serves as an executive at the University of Louisiana Monroe.