Louisiana Rep.-elect Luke Letlow was to be sworn in with his new colleagues on January 3, but he tragically died from COVID-19 complications last month, leaving behind his wife Julia and his two young children. He was only 41 years old and it was a stark reminder of how this virus can be deadly to more than just the elderly or those with underlying conditions.
Now his wife, Julia Letlow, is hoping to fill his seat herself.
“Everything in my life and in my marriage has prepared me for this moment," she said in a statement. "My motivation is the passion Luke and I both shared: to better this region that we called home and to leave it a better place for our children and future generations. I am running to continue the mission Luke started — to stand up for our Christian values, to fight for our rural agricultural communities and to deliver real results to move our state forward.’’
As reported by the Monroe News-Star, several Republican contenders decided not to run in "deference" to Mrs. Letlow.
Most other #lalege lawmakers who were considering run a out in deference to Julia Letlow. @RepLanceHarris, who lost to Luke Letlow in the Dec. 5 runoff 62% to 32%, is the only one who I haven't heard from. #lagov #lalege #la05 https://t.co/sOIdocDzeN— Greg Hilburn (@GregHilburn1) January 14, 2021
Gov. John Bel Edwards has called a special election on March 20 to fill the now vacant seat.
The late Rep.-elect Letlow tested positive for the coronavirus on Dec. 18. The next day he was admitted to St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, before being transferred to the Ochsner Lousiana State University Health ICU. Letlow underwent an operation related to the virus and would later go into cardiac arrest.
"We are devastated to hear of Luke Letlow's passing," the Louisiana delegation reacted at the time. "Luke had such a positive spirit, and a tremendously bright future ahead of him. He was looking forward to serving the people of Louisiana in Congress, and we were excited to welcome him to our delegation where he was ready to make an even greater impact on our state and our Nation."