[ ]
[ ]
[ {"id":"9ee671e0-7d54-59a8-ab14-f1d11bf7fe71","type":"article","starttime":"1481421600","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-10T18:00:00-08:00","priority":7,"sections":[{"news":"news"},{"local":"news/local"},{"sans-story":"print-specific/sans-story"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Marriage Applications: Dec. 10","url":"http://tdn.com/news/article_9ee671e0-7d54-59a8-ab14-f1d11bf7fe71.html","permalink":"http://tdn.com/news/marriage-applications-dec/article_9ee671e0-7d54-59a8-ab14-f1d11bf7fe71.html","canonical":"http://tdn.com/news/marriage-applications-dec/article_9ee671e0-7d54-59a8-ab14-f1d11bf7fe71.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"Marriage ApplicationsZachary Ryan Rintoul and Samantha Rae Cory, both of Longview, Dec. 5. Nathanial Kimball Harris and Phaweerat Sirirat Harris, both of Kent, Wash., Dec. 5. Walter Arnold Benjamin Jr. and Angela Jean Morris, both of Kelso, Dec. 2. Mateo Sanchez Rodriguez and Antonia Avendano Lopez, both of Woodland, Dec. 2.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["longview","kelso","mateo sanchez rodriguez","samantha rae cory","walter arnold","angela jean morris","benjamin jr."],"internalKeywords":["#free"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","revision":4,"commentID":"9ee671e0-7d54-59a8-ab14-f1d11bf7fe71","body":"

Marriage Applications

Zachary Ryan Rintoul and Samantha Rae Cory, both of Longview, Dec. 5.

Nathanial Kimball Harris and Phaweerat Sirirat Harris, both of Kent, Wash., Dec. 5.

Walter Arnold Benjamin Jr. and Angela Jean Morris, both of Kelso, Dec. 2.

Mateo Sanchez Rodriguez and Antonia Avendano Lopez, both of Woodland, Dec. 2.

Abie Greig Cottrell and Taylor Linn Hamm, both of Longview, Dec. 1.

Jacob Lee Moldenhauer and Crystal Lynn Myers, both of Longview, Dec. 1.

John Mills Hinshaw and Gaylene Louise Smith, both of Kelso, Nov. 29.

"}, {"id":"d141945c-5014-5720-a7a9-e328f514e0f0","type":"article","starttime":"1481418120","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-10T17:02:00-08:00","priority":100,"sections":[{"local":"news/local"}],"flags":{"featured":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"PeaceHealth St. John technical workers vote to align with union","url":"http://tdn.com/news/local/article_d141945c-5014-5720-a7a9-e328f514e0f0.html","permalink":"http://tdn.com/news/local/peacehealth-st-john-technical-workers-vote-to-align-with-union/article_d141945c-5014-5720-a7a9-e328f514e0f0.html","canonical":"http://tdn.com/news/local/peacehealth-st-john-technical-workers-vote-to-align-with-union/article_d141945c-5014-5720-a7a9-e328f514e0f0.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Denver Pratt \ndpratt@tdn.com","prologue":"Over 100 technical workers at PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview voted at the beginning of December to join the Service Employees International Union Local 49. The move, which was initiated in the fall of this year, will allow the union to represent the workers in their salary and benefit negotiations.\u00a0","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["welfare","unions","worker","jesse stemmler","peacehealth st. john medical center","wage","care","randy querin","peacehealth","hospital","medical","caregiver","work","union","seiu","healthcare","st. john medical center","longview"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","revision":2,"commentID":"d141945c-5014-5720-a7a9-e328f514e0f0","body":"

Over 100 technical workers at PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview voted at the beginning of December to join the Service Employees International Union Local 49. The move, which was initiated in the fall of this year, will allow the union to represent the workers in their salary and benefit negotiations.\u00a0

Of the 107 workers that voted on Dec. 1, a majority voted to align with the union. SEIU Local 49 now represents 720 caregivers at St. John and around 2,800 workers across the entire PeaceHealth system. In total, the union represents about 36,000 healthcare workers across the Northwest.\u00a0

\u201cFor them this is real power, because it\u2019s strength across the PeaceHealth system,\u201d said Jesse Stemmler, communications director for SEIU Local 49. \u201cThe workers found that by coming across the hospital system like that, they have a real voice for patient care and to have some better jobs.\u201d

The workers are currently in the process of nominating the bargaining team which will negotiate their union contract with PeaceHealth management. The move came from a desire to have more respect, strengthen jobs, make improvements in training for patient care and get fair wages, Stemmler said. He said this move is part of a growing trend of healthcare workers and caregivers joining unions.

The technical workers range from X-ray technicians to chemo dialysis technicians. Most are highly specialized and often work with patients directly, Stemmler said.

\u201cWorkers can connect to tackle patient care issues with management,\u201d he said. \u201c(They\u2019re) just having a voice in the care they provide and the jobs that they do.\u201d

St. John\u2019s interim Chief Executive Officer Val Baciarelli sent an email to PeaceHealth workers last Wednesday night explaining the results of the decision to align with the union and thanking the workers for their respect in regards to the transition.

\u201cWe will honor our caregivers\u2019 voice and continue our good-faith bargaining relationship with the union,\u201d the email said. \u201cThe open and honest dialogue that has taken place in the weeks leading up to this vote is a reflection of your unwavering commitment to our Mission: To promote personal and community health, relieve pain and suffering, and treat each person in a loving and caring way \u2026 including each other.\u201d

The American Federation of Teachers union has also become active in the healthcare sphere, said Randy Querin, spokesperson for PeaceHealth. PeaceHealth workers in Vancouver will vote this week whether to align with the SEIU or the American Federation of Teachers, he said.

\u201cThis is part of life in healthcare,\u201d Querin said.

St. John technical workers did not immediately return requests for comment.

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Forgery \u2014 Longview police Thursday arrested Brett James Conrad, 40, of Longview on suspicion of forgery.

Burglary

200 block of 28th Avenue, Longview. Thursday. Garage and car rummaged through, purse taken from car.

Vehicle prowl

1300 block of Commerce Avenue, Longview. Thursday. Seats, air bag, shift knob, speedometer, headlights and school backpack.

Theft

1500 block of Commerce Avenue, Longview. Thursday. Red and black Mongoose mountain bike.

Superior Court sentencings

Aaron Christopher Plummer, 32, of Yacolt, 30 days in jail and $600 for attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle on June 19. Guilty plea Aug. 2.

Amy Rebecca Watson, 37, of Longview, 20 days in jail, one year on probation and $600 for attempted heroin possession and prostitution on July 14. Guilty plea on Aug. 2.

Tammy Lynn Lambson, 45, of Vancouver, 30 days in jail, one year on probation and $600 for attempted drug crimes and third-degree theft on July 14. Guilty plea Aug. 2.

Edward Jesus Monroy, 25, of Longview, 60 days in jail and $600 for criminal mischief on July 15. Guilty plea Aug. 2.

Alisha Marie Reed, 24, of Longview, 30 days in jail, one year on probation and $850 for attempted drug crimes on July 17. Guilty plea Aug. 2.

Cory Len Suttles, 31, a year and a day in prison, one year on probation and $600 for second-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission and violating uniform controlled substances act for possessing meth on July 18. Guilty plea Aug. 2.

Ashley Lynn Boe, 29, of Castle Rock, 10 days in jail and $850 for possessing heroin on July 21. Guilty plea Aug. 2.

Samuel William Skondin, 42, of Kelso, a year and a day in prison and $1,050 for bail jumping on April 4. Jury verdict on June 30.

Heather Crystie Cowgill, 36, of Kelso, 25 days in jail, a year on probation and $800 for heroin possession, meth possession and third-degree driving with a suspended license on March 26, 2015. Guilty plea on Aug. 8.

"} ]
[ ]
[ {"id":"d141945c-5014-5720-a7a9-e328f514e0f0","type":"article","starttime":"1481418120","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-10T17:02:00-08:00","priority":100,"sections":[{"local":"news/local"}],"flags":{"featured":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"PeaceHealth St. John technical workers vote to align with union","url":"http://tdn.com/news/local/article_d141945c-5014-5720-a7a9-e328f514e0f0.html","permalink":"http://tdn.com/news/local/peacehealth-st-john-technical-workers-vote-to-align-with-union/article_d141945c-5014-5720-a7a9-e328f514e0f0.html","canonical":"http://tdn.com/news/local/peacehealth-st-john-technical-workers-vote-to-align-with-union/article_d141945c-5014-5720-a7a9-e328f514e0f0.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Denver Pratt \ndpratt@tdn.com","prologue":"Over 100 technical workers at PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview voted at the beginning of December to join the Service Employees International Union Local 49. The move, which was initiated in the fall of this year, will allow the union to represent the workers in their salary and benefit negotiations.\u00a0","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["welfare","unions","worker","jesse stemmler","peacehealth st. john medical center","wage","care","randy querin","peacehealth","hospital","medical","caregiver","work","union","seiu","healthcare","st. john medical center","longview"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","revision":2,"commentID":"d141945c-5014-5720-a7a9-e328f514e0f0","body":"

Over 100 technical workers at PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview voted at the beginning of December to join the Service Employees International Union Local 49. The move, which was initiated in the fall of this year, will allow the union to represent the workers in their salary and benefit negotiations.\u00a0

Of the 107 workers that voted on Dec. 1, a majority voted to align with the union. SEIU Local 49 now represents 720 caregivers at St. John and around 2,800 workers across the entire PeaceHealth system. In total, the union represents about 36,000 healthcare workers across the Northwest.\u00a0

\u201cFor them this is real power, because it\u2019s strength across the PeaceHealth system,\u201d said Jesse Stemmler, communications director for SEIU Local 49. \u201cThe workers found that by coming across the hospital system like that, they have a real voice for patient care and to have some better jobs.\u201d

The workers are currently in the process of nominating the bargaining team which will negotiate their union contract with PeaceHealth management. The move came from a desire to have more respect, strengthen jobs, make improvements in training for patient care and get fair wages, Stemmler said. He said this move is part of a growing trend of healthcare workers and caregivers joining unions.

The technical workers range from X-ray technicians to chemo dialysis technicians. Most are highly specialized and often work with patients directly, Stemmler said.

\u201cWorkers can connect to tackle patient care issues with management,\u201d he said. \u201c(They\u2019re) just having a voice in the care they provide and the jobs that they do.\u201d

St. John\u2019s interim Chief Executive Officer Val Baciarelli sent an email to PeaceHealth workers last Wednesday night explaining the results of the decision to align with the union and thanking the workers for their respect in regards to the transition.

\u201cWe will honor our caregivers\u2019 voice and continue our good-faith bargaining relationship with the union,\u201d the email said. \u201cThe open and honest dialogue that has taken place in the weeks leading up to this vote is a reflection of your unwavering commitment to our Mission: To promote personal and community health, relieve pain and suffering, and treat each person in a loving and caring way \u2026 including each other.\u201d

The American Federation of Teachers union has also become active in the healthcare sphere, said Randy Querin, spokesperson for PeaceHealth. PeaceHealth workers in Vancouver will vote this week whether to align with the SEIU or the American Federation of Teachers, he said.

\u201cThis is part of life in healthcare,\u201d Querin said.

St. John technical workers did not immediately return requests for comment.

"} ]
[ {"id":"6844b308-7a70-5aef-8200-a742477f5148","type":"article","starttime":"1481353200","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-09T23:00:00-08:00","priority":100,"sections":[{"local":"news/local"}],"flags":{"featured":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Home prices fall, but market still hotter than last year","url":"http://tdn.com/news/local/article_6844b308-7a70-5aef-8200-a742477f5148.html","permalink":"http://tdn.com/news/local/home-prices-fall-but-market-still-hotter-than-last-year/article_6844b308-7a70-5aef-8200-a742477f5148.html","canonical":"http://tdn.com/news/local/home-prices-fall-but-market-still-hotter-than-last-year/article_6844b308-7a70-5aef-8200-a742477f5148.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Marissa Luck\nmluck@tdn.com","prologue":"A later-than-expected seasonal slump in housing prices has hit Cowlitz County, with median home prices falling to $195,000 in November, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Services. But tighter inventories of houses for sale still slant the market in favor of sellers. Realtors typically expect colder temperatures to drag down prices starting in October, but this year October was unusually good for the local housing market. Median prices reached $223,500. Prices were down 12.8 percent in November from the prior month but were still 12.7 percent higher than November 2015, when median prices were $173,000.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["price","commerce","economics","october","inventory","market","seller","kathy thompson","realtor"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"ca4165a5-c85c-5d83-903f-1b473f6749d0","description":"","byline":"by Stuart Miles","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"400","height":"329","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tdn.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/a4/ca4165a5-c85c-5d83-903f-1b473f6749d0/55a29c9c36372.image.jpg?resize=400%2C329"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"82","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tdn.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/a4/ca4165a5-c85c-5d83-903f-1b473f6749d0/55a29c9c3cf4c.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"247","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tdn.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/a4/ca4165a5-c85c-5d83-903f-1b473f6749d0/55a29c9c36372.image.jpg?resize=300%2C247"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"842","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tdn.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/a4/ca4165a5-c85c-5d83-903f-1b473f6749d0/55a29c9c36372.image.jpg"}}},{"id":"1b68dcab-15ef-54ef-959a-7036b754bd54","description":"The angels on the light poles contrast their warm, glowing colors against the cooler light of the snow-coated tree branches looking like finely made etchings against the streaking evening sky. The falling mixture of freezing rain and snow flakes were captured as streaks against the dark sky because of a slow shutter speed. After a day of rain, and a bit more warmth, just the angels remain on the stretch of Broadway between Commerce Ave. and 12th Ave.","byline":"Bill Wagner, The Daily News","hireswidth":1686,"hiresheight":1229,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tdn.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/b6/1b68dcab-15ef-54ef-959a-7036b754bd54/584b6e4c8a12a.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"452","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tdn.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/b6/1b68dcab-15ef-54ef-959a-7036b754bd54/584b6e4c87dea.image.jpg?resize=620%2C452"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"73","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tdn.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/b6/1b68dcab-15ef-54ef-959a-7036b754bd54/584b6e4c87dea.image.jpg?resize=100%2C73"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"219","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tdn.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/b6/1b68dcab-15ef-54ef-959a-7036b754bd54/584b6e4c87dea.image.jpg?resize=300%2C219"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"746","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tdn.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/b6/1b68dcab-15ef-54ef-959a-7036b754bd54/584b6e4c87dea.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C746"}}}],"revision":8,"commentID":"6844b308-7a70-5aef-8200-a742477f5148","body":"

A later-than-expected seasonal slump in housing prices has hit Cowlitz County, with median home prices falling to $195,000 in November, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Services. But tighter inventories of houses for sale still slant the market in favor of sellers.

Realtors typically expect colder temperatures to drag down prices starting in October, but this year October was unusually good for the local housing market. Median prices reached $223,500. Prices were down 12.8 percent in November from the prior month but were still 12.7 percent higher than November 2015, when median prices were $173,000.

October prices were somewhat skewed though: Even if a seller and buyer agree on a contract, it\u2019s taking anywhere between 45 to 60 days for an appraisal on the home. The longer-than-normal appraisal times are delaying the actual times the deal close. So many of the home sales that were reported in October actually were from deals put together in August and September, realtors say.

\u201cI had three sales that were supposed to close in November and we\u2019re still not closed in December. We\u2019re just waiting for the appraisers. So that\u2019s kind of what\u2019s skewing your numbers,\u201d said Mark Scroggins, branch manager with Coldwell Banker Bain in Longview.

In spite of the lower prices, the market hasn\u2019t slowed down completely. There were just three fewer homes sold in November (123) than there were in October. And a shortage of houses on the market could prevent prices from falling significantly throughout the winter.

There were 186 homes and condos for sale last month throughout the county, down from 258 active listings in October. If sales continued at their current pace, it would take just 1.5 months to clear through the county\u2019s entire inventory of homes for sale on the market. That compares to 3.13 months last November.

Sellers tend to pull back listing their homes in early winter, because of the weather or the holiday season, said Kathy Thompson, realtor broker with Kathy & Steve Real Estate with Real Living.

\u201cThe reality of people\u2019s lives if you have family and you\u2019re getting ready for Christmas, you have all these things to take care of and it\u2019s a big undertaking to get your house ready to sell,\u201d Thompson said.

Plus, Cowlitz County hasn\u2019t seen a lot of new subdivisions or developments crop up like in the Puget Sound areas, Scroggins notes.

Thompson expects inventories to ease somewhat in February and March, when typically more sellers start listing their homes.

\u201cI think 2017 is going to be a very active year even with the interest rates increases that have happened and may happen again,\u201d she said.

"} ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
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NEW YORK (AP) \u2014 The Latest developments on Donald Trump's transition to the presidency (all times local):

10 p.m.

Trump has found an accomplished American executive in Rex Tillerson, a supporter of free trade, international law and an expansive U.S. presence in the Middle East.

A native of Wichita Falls, Texas, Tillerson came to Exxon Mobile Corp. straight out of the University of Texas at Austin in 1975 and never left. He came up in the rough-and-tumble world of oil production, holding posts in the company's central United States, Yemen and Russian operations.

Under Tillerson's leadership, oil prices broke records and strong profits helped make Exxon the most valuable public company in the world. It has a security force totaling thousands of employees, direct channels with governments worldwide and a strong aversion to American sanctions or limitations on where it could operate.

___

4:30 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is moving closer to nominating Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state, following a private meeting with the business leader.

That's according to several people who have spoken with Trump and his transition team.

Trump has privately signaled to associates that he plans to tap Tillerson for the powerful Cabinet post, but had not formally offered him the job as of Saturday afternoon. Some advisers worry that Tillerson's ties to Russia would lead to a contentious Senate confirmation hearing and keep alive questions about Trump's own relationship with Moscow.

The people who have spoken with Trump and his transition team insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly disclose the internal deliberations.

___

3:50 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is being greeted with cheers at the annual Army-Navy football game in Baltimore.

The incoming president waved to the crowd from outside a private box as he arrived at the stadium during the first quarter of the storied rivalry.

Trump was inside the box of a West Point graduate and planned to spend the second half in the box of retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North.

He was joined by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and top adviser Steve Bannon.

___

1:20 p.m.

Donald Trump has met with Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as the incoming president considers his options for secretary of state.

Tillerson is under serious consideration to lead the State Department and also met with Trump earlier this week. Trump is also considering former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker and former United Nations ambassador John Bolton.

Trump's transition team said Friday that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani had withdrawn from consideration for the post.

Tillerson's meeting Saturday was described by a person familiar with the private gathering who was not authorized to discuss it.

___

11:20 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump will spend the first half of Saturday's Army-Navy game in the box of David Urban, a West Point graduate and Republican adviser and the second half in the box of retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, a graduate of Annapolis.

A Trump transition official says Trump will not formally switch sides at halftime in the traditional symbol of commander-in-chief neutrality because he is not the sitting president. The team member spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the president-elect's plans.

Trump is expected to join several advisers, including incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Steve Bannon.

Trump is a 1964 graduate of the New York Military Academy near West Point.

___

10:40 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump has deleted and reissued a tweet after receiving criticism on social media for bad spelling.

Trump put out a fresh tweet accusing CNN of reporting \"ridiculous\" fake news, arguing he won't let his television show conflict with his presidency. Hours earlier, he had misspelled the word as \"rediculous.\"

\"Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are ridiculous & untrue \u2014 FAKE NEWS!\" he wrote in the corrected tweet.

The latest tweet drew some commentary about the president-elect, who has flubbed words on previous occasions on Twitter.

\"Are they still rediculous, too as per the original tweet?\" tweeted @JoelNihlean in response.

___

6:45 a.m.

Donald Trump is tweeting about television again \u2014 this time accusing CNN of reporting \"rediculous\" fake news and asserting that he won't let his television show conflict with his presidency.

Trump's Saturday morning tweets follow an announcement by Mark Burnett, the creator of \"The Apprentice,\" that the president-elect remains an executive producer on the show.

Trump's spokeswoman, Kellyanne Conway, said on CNN Friday that Trump's ties to his reality show are being reviewed for potential conflicts of interest.

At 6:28 a.m., the president-elect tweeted that he has \"NOTHING to do with The Apprentice except for fact that I conceived it with Mark B & have a big stake in it. Will devote ZERO TIME!\"

Ten minutes later, he tweeted again, saying that \"reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are rediculous & untrue - FAKE NEWS!\"

___

2:50 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is partaking in one the nation's most storied football rivalries, saluting U.S. troops at the annual Army-Navy game on Saturday as he prepares to enter the White House.

The future commander-in-chief planned to attend the 117th game between the military academies at West Point and Annapolis, which is being held on relatively neutral ground, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.

The appearance caps a week of rolling out Cabinet picks, holding \"thank you\" rallies in North Carolina, Iowa and Michigan, and trying to cement his incoming Senate majority with Saturday's runoff election in Louisiana.

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) \u2014 Clay Higgins, known as the \"Cajun John Wayne,\" defeats fellow Republican Scott Angelle in Louisiana's 3rd District race.

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) \u2014 Louisiana voters Saturday chose to send Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy to the U.S. Senate, filling the nation's last Senate seat and giving the GOP a 52-48 edge in the chamber when the new term begins in January.

Kennedy had always been the runoff election's front-runner in a state that overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump. He defeated Democrat Foster Campbell, a state utility regulator whose chances were seen as such a long-shot that national Democratic organizations offered little assistance to Campbell's campaign.

Voters also filled two open U.S. House seats Saturday, for the 3rd District representing southwest and south central Louisiana and the 4th District covering northwest Louisiana.

Louisiana has an open primary system in which all candidates run against each other. In the contests for the open congressional seats, the November primary ballots were packed with contenders, so the top two vote-getters advanced to Saturday's runoff.

The Senate runoff drew national attention, with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence each traveling to Louisiana to rally for Kennedy. The national GOP provided resources and staff into assisting Kennedy's campaign, while national Democratic organizations largely abandoned Campbell, assuming an easy win for Republicans.

Though Campbell's chance appeared slim, donations for his campaign had poured in from around the country, and several Hollywood celebrities championed his candidacy as a way to bolster resistance to the Trump presidency.

The Senate seat was open because Republican David Vitter decided against running for a third term after losing the governor's race last year. Both men vying for the seat are well-known figures, in Louisiana politics for decades.

Kennedy, an Oxford-educated lawyer from south Louisiana, is in his fifth term as treasurer, a role in which he repeatedly drew headlines for financial clashes with Louisiana's governors.

He sprinkled speeches with examples of government-financed contracts he considered outrageous, like money \"to study the effects of Swedish massage on bunny rabbits.\" In the runoff, he ran a safe, TV-focused effort highlighting his support for Trump and his opposition to the federal health overhaul.

\"The good thing about this race is that nobody's going to confuse the two of us,\" Kennedy said of his opponent. \"He's a liberal. I'm a conservative. He supported (Hillary) Clinton. I supported Mr. Trump. He believes government can spend the money you earn better than you can. I don't.\"

Campbell, a cattle farmer and former state senator from north Louisiana, is a populist who railed against \"Big Oil,\" wants to increase the minimum wage and talks openly about man-made climate change. He pledged that in Washington he \"won't be in anybody's shirt pocket.\"

He's also a Louisiana Democrat \u2014 strongly opposed to abortion and supportive of gun rights. He insists he's got a chance to win.

\"For 40 years I've been in politics, and I've been able to get crossover votes, independent votes,\" Campbell said.

Kennedy hit Campbell for supporting Clinton. Campbell called Kennedy a flip-flopper during prior Senate bids, because the treasurer ran in 2004 as a liberal Democrat and the most recent two times as a conservative Republican.

In the 3rd District race, the two Republicans have traded blistering attacks: Scott Angelle, a member of the Public Service Commission and well-known public official for nearly 30 years, and Clay Higgins, a local celebrity known as the \"Cajun John Wayne\" for attention-grabbing Crime Stoppers videos he filmed when he was a sheriff's captain.

Angelle had been the presumed front-runner, but Higgins capitalized on disenchantment with career politicians to tighten the race with only a fraction of Angelle's money and a bare-bones organization.

In the 4th District, Republican state Rep. Mike Johnson defeated Democrat Marshall Jones in a competition that was less attack-laden.

Johnson focused on his work on conservative issues as a constitutional attorney and in his two years as a state lawmaker. Jones, also a lawyer, downplayed his party affiliation, running as an anti-abortion, gun-rights Democrat who could work with Trump.

The House seats were open because Republicans Charles Boustany and John Fleming unsuccessfully sought the Senate seat instead of re-election.

___

Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/melindadeslatte

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