- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 7, 2002

BATON ROUGE, La. Louisiana voters will decide control of the remaining U.S. Senate seat today when they choose between incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu and Republican challenger Suzanne Haik Terrell.

Control of the Senate was decided last month when Republicans gained two seats to give them 51 slots in the chamber. But Louisiana's election remains unsettled because no candidate topped 50 percent in Louisiana's open-primary system of elections Nov. 5. Under state law, the two top vote-getters, Mrs. Landrieu and Mrs. Terrell, face each other in a runoff.

The two capped off their campaigns yesterday by touring the state one last time to ask for votes.

Mrs. Terrell, standing in an airport hangar in Baton Rouge, told reporters "Louisiana voters want a change." On Nov. 5 Mrs. Landrieu had 46 percent of the vote and in most recent polls Mrs. Landrieu has had 46 percent of the vote, Mrs. Terrell said: "Fifty-four percent decided they were looking for a change."

Mrs. Terrell has proudly emphasized her promise of support for President Bush and his endorsement of her, which carries a lot of weight in a state where the president is popular.

But Mrs. Landrieu said yesterday that "Louisiana is looking for more than a rubber stamp or for the person who claims to be more conservative."

"We in Louisiana do not believe in sending labels to Washington. We believe in sending leaders to Washington," Mrs. Landrieu said.

She spoke at a shut-down sugar mill south of Baton Rouge, underscoring one of her themes in this final week that Mrs. Terrell and the Bush administration will be bad for Louisiana's sugar farmers in particular and the economy in general.

Mrs. Landrieu has charged that the administration has struck a secret deal with Mexico that will cripple Louisiana's sugar industry.

Sen. John B. Breaux, Louisiana's senior Democratic senator, who was traveling with Mrs. Landrieu yesterday, said the sugar issue has resonated, particularly among some white voters who might have been leaning toward Mrs. Terrell.

Mr. Breaux said turnout is particularly important in this election.

"If turnout is as high as it was in the primary, Mary can win. If it's below that, Mary could have a problem."

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