Most of Louisiana's Republican congressmen had an easy time of things in their re-election bids, but that couldn't be the case for U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry, who will face each other in a December runoff to decide who returns to Washington for another term.
The two men were forced into the same 3rd District when Louisiana lost a congressional seat after the latest federal census. Three other contenders were in the race, and neither congressman was able to win outright in Tuesday's election.
In other congressional contests, Republican U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise of Metairie, John Fleming of Minden, Rodney Alexander of Quitman and Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge coasted to victory against little-financed opponents.
Democratic incumbent Cedric Richmond, who faced four opponents in the New Orleans-based 2nd District, won with 53 percent of the vote.
Richmond, who spent a decade in the Louisiana House of Representatives before moving to Washington, is a member of the House committees on small business and homeland security. He also is an assistant House minority whip.
Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney overwhelmingly took Louisiana, though he lost his White House bid.
An open seat on the state's utility regulatory agency, the Public Service Commission, went to Scott Angelle, a former official in Gov., Bobby Jindal's administration. He easily bested four competitors.
The contest for a vacant Louisiana Supreme Court seat representing the Baton Rouge area won't be decided until Dec. 8.
Turnout was brisk across Louisiana.
The outcome of most of the state's U.S. House races seemed to have been decided in August, when few well-financed challengers signed up to oppose incumbent congressmen.
Boustany and Landry weren't so lucky since they were pushed into a fight for one seat, representing southwest Louisiana and Acadiana.
Boustany led the field of candidates Tuesday and quickly declared himself the front-runner for the runoff election.
"Emerging with highest total of votes shows south Louisiana's clear choice for Congress. In a five-way race, this campaign finished on top. My campaign will continue to build on today's momentum, and I look forward to finishing the job," he said in a statement.
Landry claimed he has the advantage in a runoff, noting that more than 50 percent of the people in the district voted against Boustany though the district's design was supposed to favor him.
"This was Charles Boustany's district. He's been saying that the entire time. The majority of people voted against Charles Boustany," Landry said. "On Dec. 8, we finish the job."
The congressmen tried to stake out much the same philosophical territory, both running as conservatives, leaving them to distinguish themselves largely by slamming each other. Landry was the tea party favorite, while Boustany was considered a more traditional Republican candidate.
Louisiana's other Republican congressmen had little organized competition:
—Alexander, the dean of Louisiana's U.S. House delegation and a contractor, was first elected to Congress in 2002. He'll be entering his sixth term representing the 5th District, which includes Monroe and Alexandria.
—Scalise, a former state lawmaker, will be entering his third full term in the 1st District that covers suburban New Orleans and coastal southeast Louisiana.
—Fleming, a doctor and owner of Subway and UPS stores, also will be taking a third term in the northwest Louisiana-based 4th District.
—Cassidy, a doctor and former state senator, was first elected to the Baton Rouge-based 6th District seat in 2008. He's considered to be a likely opponent for Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu when she runs for re-election in 2014.