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Louisiana Primary Delayed After Hurricane

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has ordered the state's congressional primary, which had been scheduled for this Saturday, to be delayed after the damage wrought by Hurricane Gustav made it too difficult to pull off the balloting on time.

Election officials had been planning for the contingency that the primary might have to be delayed since before Gustav made landfall, and Jindal made his decision Tuesday. The state hopes to push the election back only a week, to Sept. 13, but a definite date has not been set. The state's runoff, for primaries in which no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, is currently scheduled for Oct. 4.

While reports have suggested the hurricane did not cause as much destruction as had been feared, Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne (R) told reporters he had not been able to get in touch with local officials in multiple congressional districts to ask them whether polling places and voting equipment were damaged.

"We thought it would be only in the southern section of the state, but now it looks like it is of a statewide magnitude," Dardenne said, according to The Monroe News Star.

There are only a few genuinely competitive House primaries in the state this year, with the main event being indicted Rep. William Jefferson's (D) reelection effort in the New Orleans-based 2nd district. Jefferson, who faces trial on federal corruption charges in December, is trying to hold off several Democratic challengers. In the Shreveport-based 4th district, three Republicans are vying for the party's nod to replace retiring Rep. Jim McCrery (R). Democrat Paul Carmouche is likely to win his party's nomination easily, and the seat is expected to be competitive in November.

By Ben Pershing  |  September 3, 2008; 12:58 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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