We’ve got our first major announced candidate for the 5th District congressional race in Louisiana, which will be the race to succeed Ralph Abraham as the representative of that northeast-Louisiana centered district (though it stretches fingers all the way down to Washington Parish in the southeast), and Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria), who in the previous term was the head of the House Republican delegation in the Louisiana legislature, could be the man to beat depending on who else gets in.
Here was Harris’ announcement, released this morning…
After thoughtful prayer and consultation with my wife and close friends, I have decided to enter the race for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District.
Ralph Abraham has served our state with honor and distinction and I want to personally thank him for his service. The voters of this district deserve a proven conservative as their next congressman; someone with real life business experience and a record of fighting for Louisiana families, Louisiana jobs, and Louisiana values. That’s exactly who I am.
Washington, D.C. is a mess. Just like I’ve done in the Louisiana legislature, I’ll work with President Trump to continue to cut taxes, rein in waste, and get government off the backs of our farmers and job creators. Despite what Bernie and Biden say, America needs to be less
like Cuba and more like Caldwell Parish.
I’m ready to go to D.C. to fight for Louisiana families and stop radicals from driving our country into a ditch.
About Lance Harris:
Conservative Republican Lance Harris is entering his third term as the Louisiana State Representative for District 25. For seven years Lance served as the Majority Leader for Louisiana House Republican Delegation. Representative Harris began his professional career in banking and has 34 years of experience as a Louisiana small-business owner. Lance and his wife, Leetha, reside in Alexandria, La. where they are active members of their community.
We don’t know who else is going to be in the field, so it’s too soon to handicap the race. Scotty Robinson, a Republican police juror from Monroe, has already declared, along with a pair of Democrats – Candy Christophe, a social worker and drug addiction counselor from Clinton, and Brody Pierrottie, a businessman who apparently will do a Pete Buttigieg impersonation during the campaign (Louisiana’s 5th District might be the single worst place in the country for that). Abraham’s chief of staff Luke Letlow has yet to get in but he’s likely to, and Letlow could be the other major candidate in the race.
Harris will have an advantage in that he can self-fund a pretty good chunk of his campaign if he needs to. Letlow has contacts which could translate into a decently-funded campaign. None of the others look to have much money.
Something to consider, though, is geography. Since it was created in its current basic map following the 1990 census, the 5th District has sent someone from the Monroe area, rather than the Alexandria area, to represent it in Congress. Abraham is from Alto, which isn’t really part of any metropolitan area but is far closer to Monroe. Vance McAllister was from the Monroe area. So was Rodney Alexander. So was John Cooksey.
Does that mean somebody from Alexandria can’t beat somebody from Monroe, like already-declared Scotty Robinson and soon-to-declare Luke Letlow are? Probably not. Population-wise the two markets are pretty similar, though Monroe has an advantage. Ouachita Parish has 101,000 registered voters, while Rapides Parish only has 84,000. You’d think that Harris’ position in the legislature would create some name recognition beyond Alexandria, though, and that might enable him to reach beyond just the Alexandria area. On the other hand, the 5th District has a history of electing people nobody knew anything about until the race got rolling.
As you can see by his press release, Harris is going to offer himself as a hard-core conservative in the race. The question will be whether Letlow, Robinson or whoever else gets into the race will try to run to the right of him. While Abraham’s record was fairly conservative, historically the key to earning and keeping that 5th District seat is to put yourself out there as socially conservative while unapologetically bringing home as much federal swag, particularly for the rural areas, as possible. That would probably augur more for somebody to run on getting projects funded than fighting the Bernie Sanders gang.
But maybe not. We still don’t know who the Democrats’ nominee will be, so we don’t really know what will be the thinking of the electorate in the 5th District.
Harris’ political consultant is Lionel Rainey, who was in charge of Abraham’s gubernatorial campaign last year and who worked for Alexander’s 2018 re-election campaign. Rainey certainly knows the district.
It’s fair to see Harris as the early favorite in the race, but that’s written in pencil, not in ink, until we see who else gets in.