John Fleming and Chris Gorman, who engaged in a political slugfest during the campaign, finished in a near dead heat Saturday night in the Republican Party's 4th Congressional District primary. They are headed for a Nov. 4 runoff for their party's nomination. Paul Carmouche was in a tougher-than-expected race in the Democratic Party's congressional primary, leading a four-candidate field but not getting the majority needed to win outright. With all precincts reporting late Saturday night, Fleming and Gorman were less than 500 votes apart out of more than 41,000 cast. Fleming had 35 percent of the vote to 34 percent for Gorman. Jeff Thompson was third with 31 percent of the vote. Thompson late Saturday night did not endorse either candidate in the runoff. With all precincts reporting, Carmouche, the retiring district attorney of Caddo Parish, had 48 percent of the vote in the Democratic Party primary. Banks, a retired military officer from Leesville, was second with 23 percent. Shreveport attorney John Milkovich was third with 21 percent, followed by the Rev. Artis Cash of Shreveport with 8 percent. The runoffs in the party primaries will be Nov. 4. The general election between the Republican and Democrat nominees will be Dec. 6. The winner succeeds 20-year incumbent Jim McCrery, who is not seeking re-election. Fleming, a Minden doctor, and Gorman, a Shreveport businessman, spent heavily on the race, lobbing negative ads and responses back and forth. Thompson, a Bossier City lawyer who was endorsed by McCrery, ran a much lower-key campaign, spending much of his money on direct mailers The congressional primaries had been scheduled for September but were postponed because of Hurricane Gustav. Saturday's congressional primary was the first "closed" primary in Louisiana since the 1970s, when the state went to a primary system where all candidates were on the ballot together, regardless of party affiliation. Now there are separate Democratic and Republican primaries.

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