NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Voters queued up at polls across Louisiana Tuesday to decide a historic presidential race further flavored by decisions on a slew of congressional seats and battery of local issues.
In the glow of the McCain-Obama marquee, Democrats sought to hold on to incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu's Senate seat against a challenge by Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy.
In another closely watched race, indicted U.S. Rep. William Jefferson hoped Democratic voters in his New Orleans area district would give him a closed-party runoff victory against former television journalist Helena Moreno and advance him to a Dec. 6 general election match with a little-known Republican opponent.
In the long line outside the Algiers Courthouse, Janet Gisleson, sat in a lawn chair she had brought to cope with the pre-dawn wait.
"This is a very exciting election," said Gisleson, 66. "I'm most excited about Obama. He's willing to listen to all sides of an issue and to talk to different countries. We need that right now."
Lines were heavy throughout the city. At 5:30 a.m. - half an hour before the polls opened, the lines outside of at least two uptown voting sites stretched more than a block with more people showing up steadily."
Elsewhere, incumbent U.S. Rep. Don Cazayoux, D-La., faced opposition from Republican Bill Cassidy in the 6th Congressional District in the Baton Rouge area. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was challenged by Democratic businessman Jim Harlan in the 1st Congressional District in suburban New Orleans. And in the 7th Congressional District in western Louisiana, incumbent U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., met Democratic challenger Don Cravins Jr.
Closed-party runoffs for Republicans and Democrats in the 4th Congressional District would set the stage for a Dec. 6 general election.
Louisianians also were voting on seven amendments to the state Constitution, filling a seat in the state House and state Senate and deciding on a basket of local issues.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)