October 22, 1995 in Nation/World

Conservatives Leading In Louisiana Election

Associated Press

Two conservative white Republicans, including former Gov. Buddy Roemer, were ahead in early primary returns Saturday in a crowded field of candidates seeking to replace retiring Gov. Edwin Edwards.

No candidate was expected to get more than 50 percent of the vote and win outright. Exit polls projected that Republican state Sen. Mike Foster would win the top runoff spot Nov. 18.

Those same polls by two New Orleans television stations showed Roemer and state Treasurer Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, in a close race for the second runoff spot.

With 1 percent of precincts reporting, Foster had 7,401 votes, or 36 percent; Roemer had 3,702, or 18 percent; Landrieu had 3,419, or 16 percent; and U.S. Rep Cleo Fields, 2,862, or 14 percent.

Fields, the only black candidate, was thought to have a shot at the runoff if he won most of the black vote. Of the state’s 2.3 million voters, about one third are black.

In all, 16 candidates vied to succeed Edwards, the populist Democrat who is retiring in January after dominating Louisiana politics for a quarter century. In Louisiana’s open primary, all candidates run on one ballot regardless of party.

Roemer and Landrieu, the best known candidates at the outset, led in all polls for most of the year, but Foster began a dramatic move just a month ago - doubling his figures to move into the second spot.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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