Congress combined

Cedric Richmond (left), Garret Graves (center) and Steve Scalise.

The three incumbent congressmen representing New Orleans and Baton Rouge easily won re-election Tuesday.

In suburban New Orleans, Jefferson Republican Congressman Steve Scalise, who as House majority whip is the third-highest-ranking leader, dispatched six opponents.

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, faced a tougher battle against term-limited East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden but pulled in most of the votes.

In the south Baton Rouge-based 6th Congressional District, rookie Republican Congressman Garret Graves defeated his five challengers to win re-election.

Meanwhile, in the race for the open seat in Acadiana, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, as anticipated, won a spot in the Dec. 10 runoff for the 3rd Congressional District. He will face fellow Republican Clay Higgins, who is known as the Cajun John Wayne for his tough-talking Crime Stoppers reports that have an international following.

First Congressional District

The 1st Congressional District, which basically covers the New Orleans suburbs, including the north shore, is 80 percent white and has the fewest registered Democrats in Louisiana, according to voter registration records.

Scalise swamped his opponents. 

More money was raised and spent in that race than in any other congressional campaign in Louisiana. But that’s largely because Scalise raised $3.4 million and spent a good bit of that on vulnerable Republican House incumbents around the country. The five-term Republican faces six little-known opponents, who have reported spending about $5,500 between them.

Scalise is "The Enforcer" who’s responsible for ensuring that the House Republican majority votes together. He’s also on hand when the leadership needs support on a particular issue. That puts him in the No. 3 position of House leadership, something Scalise rarely failed to work into conversations and speeches on the campaign trail.

The state’s influence in Washington, where seniority is important, has waned over the past couple of decades as new senators and representatives replaced retiring committee chairmen and congressional leaders from Louisiana. The state's senior senator, David Vitter, is stepping down. Two of the more veteran representatives dropped out to compete for Vitter’s seat: six-term Congressman Charles Boustany, chairman of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on tax policy, and four-termer John Fleming, co-founder of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Other than Scalise, Richmond is the only remaining congressman who has been in office more than a couple of years. A longtime state representative from New Orleans East, Richmond went to Capitol Hill in 2011 and was elected to his third term Tuesday night.

Second Congressional District

The 2nd Congressional District was specifically drawn to include mostly black voters. Consequently, the district starts in New Orleans, then includes black neighborhoods up the Mississippi River and into north Baton Rouge.

Sixty-two percent of the district’s 515,108 registered voters are black and 65 percent are Democrat.

The other five congressional districts in the state are majority white that tend to vote Republican. So, the political discourse in the 2nd Congressional District differs from the rhetoric in the rest of the state.

Both Richmond and Holden talked about having a working relationship with President Barack Obama and supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president.

Richmond raised $1.3 million and spent $756,772 on the campaign, according to the latest federal disclosures, which covered into the weekend.

Richmond splits Baton Rouge with Graves, the former aide to Gov. Bobby Jindal who in his first run for public office beat Gov. Edwin W. Edwards in 2014.

Sixth Congressional District

The 6th District includes 13 parishes and is considered one of the most Republican-leaning in the nation.

The district extends from southeast Baton Rouge to the suburbs west of New Orleans and through the bayou communities, including parts of Houma.

In 2014, 11 candidates competed for the congressional seat, including two women and two black people. In his re-election bid, Graves faced two Democrats, a Libertarian, another Republican and a candidate without party affiliation. None of the candidates is even remotely as well-known as Edwards.

Graves said his work in several areas, including federal highway aid for Louisiana, helped win another term in Congress. Top state officials have credited Louisiana's congressional delegation, including Graves, for helping the state land federal grants and other aid in recent months. That includes $20 million to replace the often-congested Washington Street exit on Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge.

North Louisiana congressional races

In north Louisiana, Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham Jr., of Alto, another rookie, was overwhelmingly re-elected to represent the sprawling 5th Congressional District that includes Monroe, the northern sections of the Florida Parishes to Bogalusa. He spent about $294,000, according to the latest federal disclosures, to defeat a largely unfunded Republican opponent, Billy Burkette.

The race for the seat based in Shreveport-Bossier City that is being vacated by Fleming, R-Minden, was much more competitive. Republican state Rep. Mike Johnson will face Democratic Shreveport lawyer J. Marshall Jones in runoff. Johnson is a Bossier City lawyer who specializes in litigating on behalf of conservative Christians in social issues lawsuits. Jones was supported by Gov. John Bel Edwards and the teachers unions. 

The Republicans in the race included former state Sen. Elbert Guillory, of Opelousas, who spent about $590,000, according to federal disclosures; Shreveport City Councilman Oliver Jenkins, who spent $483,903; and Shreveport cardiologist Trey Baucum III.

Third Congressional District

As in the 4th District, Acadiana’s congressional seat is being vacated. Eight Republicans, two Democrats, a Libertarian and one candidate running without party affiliation threw their hats in the ring.

But in many ways, the race was between four candidates vying for the right to challenge Angelle.

Candidates spent about $2.5 million of the $3 million they collectively raised going into the final weekend before primary voting, which showed the fierce competitiveness. Campaigns usually hold much more in reserve in anticipation of a runoff.

Higgins, a U.S. Army veteran from New Orleans, sold cars in the Baton Rouge and Lake Charles areas before embarking on a career in law enforcement. He worked for Opelousas city police, then the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office. He now is with the Lafayette City Marshal’s Office, which handles arrest warrants and executes writs issued by the Lafayette City Court.

Angelle was elected a police juror in his early 20s. He went on to become president of St. Martin Parish, then ran the state Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the oil and gas industry, for both Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal. When Mitch Landrieu was elected mayor of New Orleans, Jindal tapped Angelle as interim lieutenant governor.

In 2013, Angelle was elected to the Public Service Commission and assumed the leadership of rate-making board last month when Chairman Clyde Holloway died.

Follow Mark Ballard on Twitter, @MarkBallardCnb.