GOP candidate drops out of Louisiana race

Aug. 19, 2004 at 4:02 PM
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NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Republican state Rep. Steve Scalise has dropped out of the race in Louisiana's 1st Congressional District, the New Orleans Times-Picayune said Thursday.

Scalise's departure improves significantly the chances former state and federal official Bobby Jindal will become the first Indian-American Republican to serve in Congress.

Even before Scalise's departure Jindal, who in 2003 missed being elected governor of Louisiana by a narrow margin, was considered the overwhelming favorite in the race. The seat came open when incumbent Rep. David Vitter, R-La., chose to run for the U.S. Senate instead of re-election. Without Scalise in the race, analysts say, the chances Jindal will be elected outright in the Nov. 2 primary without the need for a runoff are much more likely.

In Louisiana, all candidates run on the same ballot in an open primary. If no candidate polls more than 50 percent of the vote the two top finishers, regardless of party affiliation, meet in a run-off election several weeks later.

Announcing his departure from the race, Scalise "alluded to the challenge posed by Jindal's lead in the polls and in fundraising," the paper said.

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