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Top Finishers Prepare for Runoff In Louisiana Senate Race

September 29, 1986

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Democrat John Breaux says he expects to unite his former opponents in his runoff against Republican Henson Moore, who led a field of 14 but failed to capture a majority in a non-partisan Senate primary.

Moore, a congressman who hopes to become Louisiana’s first Republican senator in more than a century, got 44 percent of the vote Saturday. Breaux got 37 percent.

″We knew all along that there was going to be a runoff, and we’re going to win it all on November 4,″ said Moore, a congressman from Baton Rouge.

Breaux, a congressman from the little Cajun town of Crowley, split his vote with three other Democratic state officials whose support he said he hoped to win in the runoff.

″We’re not ready to make any public announcements yet,″ he said Sunday, ″but I’m meeting with them and I think we’ll put it together. I certainly need their help.″

Moore has asked Breaux to set up their first debate in more than a month, and Breaux said he would be happy to debate him ″all he wants.″

″This time we’re going to start comparing records, not just bank accounts,″ said Breaux, who was outspent 3-1 by Moore.

Breaux said he was confident the state’s 6-1 Democratic majority would prevail in the runoff, but Moore said he believed the Republicans’ momentum would hold.

″He’s got to come a long way to beat me,″ Moore said.

In complete but unofficial returns, Moore had 524,313 votes to Breaux’s 440,337.

At 42, Breaux is the senior member of the state’s House delegation, winning his first term in 1972. Moore, 46, is serving his sixth term.

They are vying to replace Sen. Russell Long, the retiring patriarch of a dynasty that has dominated the state’s politics for 60 years.

Trailing the leaders were three Democratic state officials: Senate President Sammy Nunez; Sen. J.E. Jumonville Jr., a wealthy oilfield heir and racehorse breeder; and Sherman Bernard, Louisiana’s insurance commissioner.

Bernard had 52,694 votes or 4 percent, Jumonville 48,460 votes or 4 percent and Nunez 72,220 votes or 6 percent.

The nine other candidates, who had little campaign money and attracted little attention, divided the remaining 9 percent of the vote.

President Reagan and Vice President George Bush made several trips to Louisiana to stump for Moore.

No significant issues divided the leading candidates, who cast the race as a referendum on who was to blame for Louisiana’s slumped economy.

Voters also cast ballots in five congressional races.

Winning easy re-election were Rep. Lindy Boggs, a Democrat from the New Orleans-based 2nd District, and Rep. Jerry Huckaby, a Democrat from the 5th District in northeast Louisiana.

Moore’s 6th District seat was won by Republican Richard Baker, who got 51 percent of the vote over Democrat Tommy Hudson.

A runoff was forced between Democrats Margaret Lowenthal and Jimmy Hayes in the crowded race for Breaux’s 7th District seat.

A runoff was also necessary in the 8th District seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Cathy Long. Democrat Faye Williams will face Republican Clyde Holloway.