Although President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders are attempting to govern as though they have a clear mandate from the American people, Congress remains almost equally split, with Dems holding only a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.
That margin just became even slimmer with the swearing-in of Rep. Julia Letlow (R-LA), who won a special election last year to fill the seat vacated by the death of her husband Luke last year, as Breitbart reported.
“I choose hope”
Shortly after winning his race in November to represent Louisiana’s 5th District, Luke Letlow contracted COVID-19 and died as a result of complications in December, prior to being seated in the House.
His wife stepped up to run in a special election, and she offered a statement on Twitter this week to commemorate her victory.
“Today as I start my journey in Congress, I choose hope,” she said. “I want to be part of a revival of honesty, integrity and hard work within these hallowed halls.”
“What is right and true”
Rep. Letlow went on to promise her constituents that she “will stand up for what is right and true, bringing hope of a better tomorrow” to the people of the district.
In a congratulatory tweet, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) praised the incoming lawmaker’s “courage and fortitude” as an inspiration to Americans of all stripes.
.@jbletlow courage and fortitude should inspire us all. The strength she has exhibited in the wake of tragedy is reminiscent of some of our nation’s greatest leaders.
It is truly an honor to welcome her today as an official member of Congress.
Congrats Rep. Letlow. pic.twitter.com/Usjn5pAayt
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) April 14, 2021
With the addition of Rep. Letlow, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has just a six-seat majority in the lower chamber. In practical terms, her party can afford to lose just two votes on any issue if Republicans are united in their opposition.
Future opportunities for Democrats
As a result, Pelosi will have to precariously balance the interests of her party’s progressive wing with the need to keep moderate Democrats on board in order to advance the president’s agenda.
Of course, the GOP should not start counting its votes prematurely since Pelosi’s advantage is slated to increase in coming months after expected wins by Democrats in several special elections.
Later this month, another Louisiana race will be held to fill the seat vacated by Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond, who retired to join the Biden administration as a senior adviser. Another race likely to be won by a Democrat is a special election in New Mexico’s 1st District to replace former Rep. Deb Haaland — currently Biden’s secretary of the Interior.