Every Louisiana incumbent in U.S. House gets at least one challenger on first day of qualifying

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

Every incumbent Louisiana member of the U.S. House of Representatives got at least one opponent on the first day of qualifying Wednesday for November’s election.

And though he did not sign up on the first day, Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins announced his intention to challenge Sen. Bill Cassidy.

Perkins, a Democrat, is a West Point and Harvard Law School graduate who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning the rank of captain and a Bronze Star, he says. He was elected mayor in 2018 in his first run for office.

Perkins is a late entrant in the race against Cassidy, a Republican with $6 million in his campaign war chest. Cassidy is a medical doctor who knocked off former Sen. Mary Landrieu, a member of a prominent family of Louisiana Democrats, in 2014. He also served in the state Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Other Democrats in the race include Derrick “Champ” Edwards of Harvey, David Drew Knight of New Orleans, and Antoine Pierce of Baton Rouge. John Paul Bourgeois, who is not affiliated with a political party, also qualified Wednesday.

Louisiana’s other U.S. Senator, Republican John Kennedy, is not up for reelection this year.

Seven candidates signed up to replace U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, who finished third in the race to be Louisiana’s governor last year and is not seeking another term. That includes Republicans Luke Letlow, Abraham’s chief of staff for all three terms, and Rep. Lance Harris, who runs a chain of convenience stores and has served in the state House of Representatives since 2012.

Democrats Sandra Christophe of South Alexandria and Martin Lemelle Jr. of Ruston also are seeking the seat, along with Republicans Allen Guillory of Opelousas, Matt Hasty of Pineville and Scotty Robinson of West Monroe.

Democrat Rob Anderson, who says his professional experience includes IT, construction, and geotechnical drilling, is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins. Anderson has raised a little over $42,000 compared to Higgins’ $576,000.

Higgins emphasizes his law enforcement background and became known as “Cajun John Wayne” as a Crime Stoppers’ spokesman for the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office before winning election to Congress. He resigned from the Opelousas Police Department in 2007 after an internal investigation found he used unnecessary force and lied about it to his superiors.

Democrat Lee Ann Dugas of Kenner signed up to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise.

Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste, a political independent from New Orleans, qualified against Democratic U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond.

Republican Ben Gibson of Bossier City and Democrats Kenny Houston and Ryan Trundle of Shreveport signed up to run against Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson.

Richard “RPT” Torregano of Baton Rouge, who is not associated with a political party, qualified to run against Republican U.S. Rep. Garret Graves.

Qualifying runs through Friday. In the November primary, all candidates compete on the same ballot regardless of party. If no one gets more than 50 percent, the top two advance to a runoff.