Paula Davis jumped ahead early Saturday night in the race for the Louisiana Legislature House District 69 seat, and she never let go of her lead over challenger Ryan Heck.

Davis, a Republican, claimed 55 percent of the vote and handily defeated Metro Councilman and fellow Republican Heck, who collected 45 percent of the vote, in what was once predicted to be a tight race.

Davis seized the momentum of her small 82-vote-lead in the Oct. 24 primary when campaigning for the seat. She played up her experience as the state’s former deputy commissioner of insurance during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Days before the election, Davis also sent out an attack mailer on Heck. It listed “the top 10 facts why Ryan Heck should not be our state representative.”

Davis is a government relations specialist who has frequently lobbied at the state Capitol. This was her first time running for office.

Heck is the owner of Cajun Ready Mix Concrete. He was elected to the Metro Council without opposition in 2012.

Davis and Heck campaigned on similar issues, including improving schools and fixing traffic. But the two also took some jabs at each other as the election drew near.

Davis has said that Heck did not have the character to represent the state in a political office. She sent out a mailer close to the election listing “the top 10 facts why Ryan Heck should not be our state representative” that attacked Heck’s record and judgment.

Heck has maintained that Davis, with a lobbyist’s background, is another political insider who will not bring change to government. He has also stood by his background and his actions on the Metro Council.