- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Here are five things to know about Louisiana’s Nov. 4 ballot, which includes all six U.S. House seats and a heavily watched battle for the U.S. Senate:


Louisiana has a unique “jungle primary” system in which all candidates, regardless of party, run against each other and the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff if no contender gets more than 50 percent of the vote. That means while states around the nation will wrap up their congressional election cycle in the Nov. 4 general election, several of Louisiana’s congressional seats aren’t expected to be decided until a Dec. 6 runoff. Depending on the results around the country, a December runoff in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race could decide which party controls the chamber.



Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race is expected to be the highest-spending congressional election in the state’s history. Already, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu has raised $14.1 million this election cycle, while her chief Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, has brought in $8.6 million. Tea party favorite Rob Maness, a Republican and retired Air Force colonel making his first bid for office, has picked up more than $1.3 million in donations, according to the most recent fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. The figures don’t include millions of dollars in advertising poured into the state by third-party groups.



Five of Louisiana’s six U.S. House members are running for re-election: Republicans Steve Scalise, Charles Boustany, John Fleming and Vance McAllister, and Democrat Cedric Richmond. The sixth, Republican Bill Cassidy, is trying to oust Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu from her seat. McAllister is trying to rebound from a cheating scandal and faces a crowded field of opponents. But the state’s four other House incumbents haven’t attracted any well-funded challengers.



Attention on the competition for the open 6th District congressional seat has centered on one man: former Gov. Edwin Edwards, the popular 87-year-old who left federal prison only a few years ago. A Democrat who shaped the Louisiana political scene for half a century, Edwards is best known for his four terms as the state’s governor. Many forget Edwards once served four terms in the U.S. House. But he’d return to a much different Washington than he left 42 years ago. Edwards was in Congress from 1965 to 1972, first elected when Lyndon Johnson was president and ending his House tenure when Richard Nixon was in the White House.



Louisianians may need to do some studying before they head into the voting booth. Also on November’s ballot, but often overlooked by voters, will be 14 proposals to rewrite the state constitution. The secretary of state’s office has a list of the amendments that voters will face online at: https://1.usa.gov/1zbqRrH .

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