GOP Loses Incoming Republican to COVID Before Swearing-In Even Begins

According to a recent report from Fox News, Congressman-elect Luke Letlow of Lousiana died after a COVID-19 diagnosis.

The Associated Press reported earlier in the month that the 41-year-old Republican had been hospitalized after diagnosis with the virus, but not much attention was paid by many of his fellow Republicans, because of his age and the commonality of recovery by someone Letlow’s age.

The would-be GOP lawmaker was in critical condition, but showed signs of improvement before again going downhill, Dr. G.E. Ghali, of LSU Health Shreveport, told NOLA.com. Letlow then “apparently suffered a cardiac event this evening that was refractory to all resuscitation efforts,” the doctor said.

Letlow was admitted to the hospital in Monroe, La., on Dec. 19, and then transferred to the Shreveport facility when his condition worsened, according to Fox News.

Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Minority Whip and a fellow Republican from the state of Louisiana, issued a statement with his fellow lawmakers calling Letlow a “positive spirit” who had a “tremendously bright future ahead of him.”

“We are devastated to hear of Luke Letlow’s passing. Luke had such a positive spirit, and a tremendously bright future ahead of him. He was looking forward to serving the people of Louisiana in Congress, and we were excited to welcome him to our delegation where he was ready to make an even greater impact on our state and our Nation,” Scalise’s statement said. “More than anything, Luke was a loving husband, father, brother, and son, and his family – like so many others who have been affected by this evil disease – needs our prayers.

“We all join in sending our strongest support to Luke’s wife Julia and their young family, and are keeping them in our prayers.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also issued a statement on Letlow’s passing, saying the entire body of the House mourns him.

“Tonight, the United States House of Representatives sadly mourns the passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow.

“Congressman-elect Letlow was a ninth-generation Louisianan who fought passionately for his point of view and dedicated his life to public service.

The lawmaker didn’t let the opportunity pass to get in a politically motivated jab at those who are less concerned about the COVID-19 virus’ death rate than freedom, however.

“As the House grieves Congressman-elect Letlow’s passing, our sorrow is compounded by the grief of so many other families who have also suffered lives cut short by this terrible virus.

“May it be a comfort to Luke’s wife Julia and their children Jeremiah and Jacqueline that so many mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time.”

Andrew Bautsch who is a spokesman for the Letlow family confirmed the congressman elect’s death at Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport.

“The family appreciates the numerous prayers and support over the past days but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected time,” Bautsch said in a statement.

Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported that Letlow was from the small town of Start in Richland Parish. He won a December runoff election for the 5th District U.S. House seat representing central and northeastern regions of the state, including the cities of Monroe and Alexandria.

Letlow said when running for office that he decided to do so because “I know firsthand what our needs are, and because I will serve this district to get real results for our constituents. Each and every person across our rural landscape, whether it’s Bastrop, Bunkie, Bogalusa, or all the places in between, has my word that I will never stop fighting to move Louisiana’s 5th District forward.”

Letlow is survived by his wife, Julia Barnhill Letlow, and two children.