Representative-elect Luke Letlow (R-LA) died Tuesday from coronavirus at the age of 41, five days before he was due to be sworn in as a member of the 117th Congress, representing the people of Louisiana’s rural 5th congressional district.
Letlow, a “9th-generation Louisianan,” won the seat with 62% of the vote in a runoff election earlier this month against against state Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria). He served the previous representative, Ralph Abraham, as chief of staff. Abraham retired after three terms.
The last House race of 2020 was settled last night in north Louisiana. Luke Letlow, who worked for Rep. Ralph Abraham, beat state Rep. Lance Harris in this two-R runoff. Harris won his home Rapides parish and a few other precincts, but Letlow carried much of the district. #LA05 pic.twitter.com/zrg9L0Bg4e
— J. Miles Coleman (@JMilesColeman) December 6, 2020
Letlow is survived by his wife Julia and two children. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) issued a statement of condolence:
It is with heavy hearts that Donna and I offer our condolences to Congressman-elect Luke Letlow’s family on his passing after a battle with COVID-19. Congressman-elect Letlow felt a calling from a young age to serve the people of his home state, working behind the scenes for former Governor Bobby Jindal and serving as chief of staff to Congressman Ralph Abraham, who he was recently elected to succeed. COVID-19 has taken Congressman-elect Letlow from us far too soon. I am heartbroken that he will not be able to serve our people as a U.S. Representative, but I am even more devastated for his loving family. I hope all of the people of Louisiana will join Donna and me in praying for Congressman-elect Letlow’s family, especially his wife Julia and their two children, his many friends, and the people of the 5th Congressional District. Louisiana has lost more than 7,300 people to COVID-19 since March, and each one of them leaves a tremendous hole in our state. I have ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on the day of Congressman-elect Letlow’s funeral.
Congressman-elect Letlow appeared on Breitbart News’ radio programs on several occasions, including an interview in July on Breitbart News Tonight with Breitbart News Political Editor Matthew Boyle:
Letlow spoke on that occasion about the “slow-boil socialism” that he believed was a threat to the United States. He invoked the metaphor of a frog being boiled slowly in water to describe the slow creep of radical left-wing ideology into American institutions.
In May, Letlow also appeared on Breitbart News Saturday with Boyle, describing his decision to run and his roots in the state:
On his campaign website, Letlow described himself as a “Christian, Husband, Father, and a Lifelong Republican.”
Letlow had announced his diagnosis on December 18, and had been in intensive care as his condition deteriorated.