By Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2020

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A Republican state lawmaker who helped lead clashes with Gov. John Bel Edwards last term said Wednesday he is running for Louisiana’s 5th District congressional seat.

Rep. Lance Harris of Alexandria announced his entrance into the race a week after Republican incumbent Ralph Abraham said he would not seek a fourth term representing the district that includes northeast and much of central Louisiana.

Harris is starting his third term as a state lawmaker. He was the House’s GOP delegation leader for seven years and took a prominent role last term as a leader of House conservatives’ opposition to the Democratic governor’s tax and budget policies.

Harris praised Abraham’s tenure and touted his own background as a conservative and business owner. He said he would work with President Donald Trump “to cut taxes, rein in waste and get government off the backs of our farmers and job creators.”

“I’m ready to go to D.C. to fight for Louisiana families and stop radicals from driving our country into a ditch,” Harris said in his announcement statement.

The candidate signup period for the Nov. 3 congressional election will be held in mid-July. The 5th District is largely rural, containing all or part of 24 parishes and the cities of Monroe and Alexandria.

Two other contenders - Ouachita Parish Police Juror Scotty Robinson, a Republican from West Monroe, and Sandra “Candy” Shoemaker-Christophe, an Alexandria Democrat - have announced campaigns. Abraham’s chief of staff, Republican Luke Letlow, also is expected to run for the seat.

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