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Turnout Heavy in Louisiana's Governor Race

October 25, 1987|Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Gov. Edwin W. Edwards, seeking an unprecedented fourth term as Louisiana's chief executive, faced four major opponents in Saturday's primary, including three congressmen and Louisiana's secretary of state.

Between 70% and 74% of the state's 2.2 million voters were expected to cast ballots, Elections Commissioner Jerry Fowler said. Voters went to the polls, which opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 8 p.m., under mostly cloudy skies and some rain.

New Orleans officials reported a turnout by midday of between 75% and 80% of its electorate, an estimate echoed by officials in nearby suburban Jefferson Parish.

Elections Director Darrell Cobb said some precincts in Lafayette, in southwestern Louisiana, reported lines when the polls opened.

Voters Not Deterred

A heavy morning rain in Shreveport apparently failed to deter voters, said Registrar A. W. Fulcro, who reported a turnout of between 70% and 72%.

After leading in all polls until the last week before the primary, Edwards slipped behind a fellow Democrat, Rep. Buddy Roemer, in three recent surveys.

But none of the polls gave any of the six candidates a majority and a runoff seemed assured. Under Louisiana's open primary system, if no candidate received a majority of Saturday's vote the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, will meet in a runoff Nov. 21.

For much of the campaign, the key issue was which candidate could beat Edwards in a runoff.

The other major candidates included Rep. Bob Livingston, the only Republican in the race; Rep. W. J. (Billy) Tauzin, and Secretary of State Jim Brown.

Also running were former Rep. Speedy O. Long, a distant cousin of former Gov. Huey P. Long, and two political unknowns, Ken Lewis and Earl J. Amedee.

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