BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana voters on Saturday decided two special state House elections, and sent one race to a runoff.
Winners of the special elections will serve the final months of a four-year term that ends next January. The Legislature begins its session April 13.
In District 66 in Baton Rouge, two Republicans advanced from a four-person race Saturday. Buddy Amoroso, a current member of the Baton Rouge Metro Council, and Darrell Ourso, who served on the council from 1999 to 2008, will be in a March 28 runoff. They're competing to succeed Republican Hunter Greene, who resigned from the House to become a family court judge.
In District 49 in Iberia and Vermilion parishes, Republican Blake Miguez, president and CEO of SeaTran Marine, defeated one other Republican in Saturday's special election. He will succeed Republican Simone Champagne, who resigned from the House to become Youngsville's chief administrative officer.
In District 26 in Rapides Parish, retired Cleco executive Jeff Hall defeated two other Democrats to succeed Democrat Herbert Dixon, who resigned from the House because he has cancer.
Hall placed second last year in the race for Alexandria mayor. He said having his mayoral election team in place for the House election was a factor in his victory.
"I think that the biggest advantage was the message that they (voters) heard so many times was clear and believable. The message goes through whether you're running for mayor or running for state representative," Hall told The Town Talk on Saturday. "We continued the same message — being above-board, business capability and a desire to be of service rather than a guy that's looking for a job."
The Advocate reported that in the race headed to a runoff, Amoroso said he is against any tax increases and opposes Common Core academic standards. "I want local control. Louisiana can create our own standards," Amoroso said.
Ourso said that while he's also against taxes, lawmakers shouldn't arbitrarily limit themselves when trying to fix the budget deficit. Though he has questions about how Common Core was rolled out and some aspects of the idea, Ourso said he supports higher academic standards for public school students and the testing that goes along with it.
"Do we need better and higher standards? Yes," Ourso said. "Is Common Core the answer? Maybe."