Aug 30, 2010 7:51 PM by Carolyn Cerda

3rd District Runoff

Congressional primaries were held Saturday, but voters in three Acadiana parishes will have to recast their ballot in October. This, after none of the three candidates got 50% of the votes in the US Representative-3rd Congressional District race.

Voters in Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary were among 13 parishes choosing a Republican nominee to go up against the Democratic candidate in the November election. But, no one got the necessary numbers, forcing two candidates into a runoff election.

On the ballot were Kristian Magar, Hunt Downer, and Jeff Landry. Landry narrowly missed the majority, with 49.6% of the votes. Downer received 36.2% and only 14.3% went to Magar. But, it was enough to push the runoff. It's something that came as a shock to political analysts, who chalk it up to low voter turnout.

"Downer was looking like he would be ahead or they (Downer and Landry) would be close. So to come out this far ahead, certainly it was a surprise," said Pearson Cross, UL professor and political analyst. "But we're talking about a very small slice of the electorate. That distict has about 88,000 republican voters and only 20,000 voted... that's 1 out of 4."

"This is how I see it, 18% turned out to vote, that's a shame. To me this shows that one vote really does count," said Downer.

Landry says the 14 point lead is a victory for his campaign, and what analysts say doesn't matter, the votes, however, do. "It was awesome. We carried 12 out of 13 parishes," said Landry. "The end result is what counts. As a highschool coach use to tell me, 'when you're in a race don't look back, just keep looking forward'."

Downer says Landry's lead is something that he can still overcome in October. "We had a 90 day campaign, he had a 360 day campaign. We came along way in a short period of time. We have finished round 1, eliminated 1 contender, now we're in round 2, and looking to round 3 in November."

The runoff election will be held October 2nd. The winner will face Democrat Ravi Sangisetty in the November 2nd election.



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